Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin pose with the Prince of Wales Trophy after defeating the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.
Penguins returning to the Stanley Cup Final plus updates on the Ducks, Blues and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: For the second straight year and the sixth time in franchise history, the Pittsburgh Penguins are heading to the Stanley Cup Final.
Chris Kunitz scored twice, including the winner in double overtime, as the Penguins edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. Justin Schultz also scored for the Pens while Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel tallied for the Sens.
The defending champion Penguins will face the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Cup Final on Monday in Pittsburgh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Penguins for becoming the first defending champion to return to the Final since the 2009 Detroit Red Wings. Kudos as well to the Senators. Despite their heartbreaking defeat in this game, they proved a handful for the Penguins, pushing them to the limit in this series. Hopefully their performance in this year’s playoffs will be something they can build upon for next season.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen will undergo major shoulder surgeries that will sideline both for months. Lindholm is expected to require four-to-five months of recovery, while Vatanen could be out longer.
Meanwhile, goaltender John Gibson suffered a hamstring injury, forwards Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves had high-ankle sprains, defensman Kevin Bieksa suffered a torn MCL, forward Nate Thompson suffered a hairline fracture in his ankle while winger Jared Boll had a bad back.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injuries to LIndholm and Vatanen raises questions over the effect upon the Ducks’ expansion draft plans. It’s rumored the Ducks could trade Vatanen, rather than risk losing him for nothing to the Vegas Golden Knights. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston points out an injured player can still be traded so this news might not affect the Ducks’ plans.
TSN: Speaking of the Ducks, contract extension talks with blueliner Cam Fowler are expected to resume next week. Fowler’s a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agency. Talks have reportedly gone well thus far.
Meanwhile, contract discussions between the Montreal Canadiens and the agent for goaltender Carey Price could also resume next week. Like Fowler, Price is a year away from UFA eligibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler and Price cannot be re-signed until July 1 of this year.
STLTODAY.COM: Forward Steve Ott is ending his 14-year NHL playing career to join the St. Louis Blues as an assistant coach.
THE MERCURY NEWS: Hall of Famer Larry Robinson is leaving the San Jose Sharks to seek work with another organization closer to his home in Bradenton, Fla. For the past three seasons, he was the Sharks director of player development.
SPORTSLOGOS.NET: Over a dozen NHL teams, including the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators, are expected to undergo some minor uniform changes for next season.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres signed Russian defenseman Victor Antipin to a one-year, $925K contract.
MLIVE.COM: Full season tickets are now available for the Detroit Red Wings’ inaugural season in the Little Caesars Arena.
Could the Detroit Red Wings revisit their rumored interest in Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler this summer?
Latest on the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs plus an update on Kevin Shattenkirk in your NHL rumor mill.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: In two recent mailbag segments, Helene St. James replied to readers’ questions over possible offseason moves by the Detroit Red Wings. She believes it’ll cost more than the Wings’ first-round selection (ninth overall) to pry defenseman Cam Fowler out of the Anaheim Ducks.
The Wings are looking to upgrade on defense and must decide what they’ll pay to land one, which could cost up to a high-end prospect or young player. If former Red Wings blueliner Brendan Smith hits the open market on July 1, she suspects they could try to bring him back to Detroit. She also wouldn’t be shocked if Steve Ott returns, though that’ll depend upon who they lose via the expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings were linked to Fowler in last summer’s trade rumors, but I think we can rule out the possibility that he’ll be on the trade block this year. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agency next July but they appear keen to re-sign him.
Still, I think the Wings could target the Ducks or the Minnesota Wild to address their blueline needs. Both clubs risk losing a blueliner in the expansion draft. Perhaps they’ll also speak with the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators. Upgrading their blueline, however, will be costly, as the asking price could be their first-round pick in this year’s draft plus one of their promising forwards.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan recently reported it seems unlikely the Washington Capitals can afford to re-sign defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. The Capitals have 11 players eligible for free agency (six restricted free agents) and have limited cap space. Shattenkirk skated on the Capitals third-pairing but seeks a top-pairing role. Free-agent speculation links him to the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights could provide him that role as well as a desirable amount of money.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Capitals re-signing Shattenkirk. The Rangers could pursue him but they could also explore the trade market first. The Golden Knights could certainly give Shattenkirk the money and role he wants but he could prefer playing in the Eastern Conference.
THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle believes the Toronto Maple Leafs could have sufficient salary-cap space (around $15 million) once everyone is signed to pull off a big move in an offseason where some teams could be desperate to shed salary. He believes the Leafs need a high-end right-shot defenseman, a fourth-line center if Brian Boyle departs via free agency, a backup goalie if they don’t re-sign Curtis McElhinney, depth on defense and a possible long-term left winger.
Mirtle suggests perhaps going after a right wing via free agency (such as Alex Radulov, T.J. Oshie or Justin Williams) in order to shift William Nylander to center. Or perhaps adding Patrick Eaves to bolster the left wing. Or adding Martin Hanzal or Sam Gagner to replace Boyle. Whoever they add, Mirtle advocates bringing them in on short-term deals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Mirtle observes, the Leafs are sitting in a good spot this summer, as that cap space gives them some interesting options to consider. I expect they’ll make a significant move this summer to improve their blueline depth. They must ensure, however, that they don’t burn up too much long-term cap room. They’ll need that to re-sign Nylander, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to new contracts over the next couple of years.
Detroit Red Wings ship winger Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers.
The list of notable deals made leading up to today’s NHL trade deadline at 3 pm Eastern Time. I’ll have analysis of the day’s most notable trades tonight in my Soapbox.
Winnipeg Jets trade winger Drew Stafford to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in 2017.
Dallas Stars acquire minor-league defenseman Dillon Heatherington from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for left wing Lauri Korpikoski.
Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for center Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017.
The Lightning flip Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round draft pick in 2018.
Pittsburgh Penguins trade forward Eric Fehr, minor-league defenseman Steve Oleksy and a 2017 fourth-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Frank Corrado,
Ottawa Senators trade forward Curtis Lazar and minor-league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round pick.
New Jersey Devils trade winger P-A Parenteau to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2017.
New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Columbus Blue Jackets for blueliner Dalton Prout.
Montreal Canadiens trade winger Sven Andrighetto to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for left wing Andreas Martinsen.
Colorado Avalanche trade right wing Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. The Avalanche also retained half of Iginla’s $5.33 million cap hit.
Los Angeles Kings trade forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018.
Detroit Red Wings trade left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The Wings also pick up half of Vanek’s $2.6 million cap hit.
Vancouver Canucks trade winger Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for minor-league forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Detroit Red Wings trade forward Steve Ott to the Montreal Canadiens for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft.
Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg celebrates one of his two goals against the Buffalo Sabres.
Game recaps, Ott to Montreal, Hansen to the Sharks and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.com: Filip Forsberg scored twice, including the game winner in overtime, to give the Nashville Predators a 5-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Forsberg now has 10 goals in his last five games.
Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz collected his 700th career NHL victory as his club downed the New York Rangers 4-1. It was defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s first game with the Caps following his trade on Monday from St. Louis. He had four shots but didn’t tally a point.
The Rangers were playing without defenseman Dan Girardi, who could miss two weeks to a gash on the inside of his right ankle suffered on Feb. 7 that hasn’t healed properly.
Brad Marchand scored and set up another as the Boston Bruins beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-1, giving the Bruins their seventh victory in eight games under interim coach Bruce Cassidy. Coyotes winger Alex Burmistrov was carried off the ice on a stretch after being hit by Bruins defenseman Colin Miller. He was taken to hospital but has since been released and will rejoin the club.
The Florida Panthers snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr tallied a power-play goal, becoming only the third player in NHL history to score multiple goals at the age of 45. The Hurricanes were missing forward Jeff Skinner, who returned to Raleigh to be evaluated for an upper-body injury.
Alex Galchenyuk scored in overtime and Carey Price kicked out 26 shots as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 in overtime. Last night, the Canadiens also announced the acquisition of forward Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ott is an aging agitating forward who will be expected to bring grit and experience to the Habs forward lines.
Justin Abdelkader’s overtime goal lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks also announced the trade of winger Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for minor-league forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2017.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good trade for both clubs. The Sharks pick up a solid depth winger in Hansen, who’s also under contract for one more season. The Canucks add a promising young forward in Goldobin, who has the potential to become a scoring winger.
Speaking of the Sharks, they overcame a 1-0 deficit to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Auston Matthews scored his 31st of the season.
Jason Zucker’s overtime goal gave the Minnesota Wild a 6-5 win over the Winnipeg Jets, who overcome a 4-1 deficit. Mikael Granlund had a three-point night for the Wild, as did Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault for the Jets, who also welcomed back defenseman Toby Enstrom from a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Wild announced the signing of defenseman Mike Weber to a one-year, two-way contract.
The Dallas Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Stars winger Patrick Sharp is trying to play through an injury, which could affect his value as a possible trade candidate. Earlier in the day, the Penguins placed forward Eric Fehr on waivers.
Wayne Simmonds scored twice and Steve Mason made 33 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers blanked the Colorado Avalanche 4-0.
Cam Talbot made 25 saves to backstop the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.
T.J. Brodie scored in overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, giving the Flames their fifth consecutive win.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The NHL expansion franchise Vegas Golden Knights can start doing business with other clubs today, though nothing official can be released until the club finalizes its paperwork to join the league and makes the final installment of their $500 million expansion fee.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Long-time Kings broadcaster Bob Miller is expected to announce his retirement on Thursday. The 78-year-old recently had a minor stroke a year after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Vladimir Petrov, a member of two Olympic championship teams with the Soviet Union, died yesterday at the age of 69. Petrov was also a member of the Soviet team that played against Canada in the 1972 Summit Series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Petrov’s family and friends. I remember watching him play in the Summit Series alongside Boris Mikhailov and Valeri Kharlamov. That line gave the Canadians fits in that series.
Will the Tampa Bay Lightning keep or trade goaltender Ben Bishop?
Updates on Ben Bishop, Dennis Wideman and Curtis Lazar plus the latest on the Red Wings, Sharks and Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: With the Lightning fighting to reach the playoffs and goaltender Ben Bishop playing his best hockey of the season, Joe Smith wonders if they should trade Bishop with his trade value now improved or keep him and hope they can ride him to a postseason berth. If they retain him, they risk losing him to free agency for nothing in July.
The Dallas Stars were once suggested as a trade partner but they’ve fallen out of playoff contention and need to move one of their own goalies. Smith noted the Calgary Flames nearly had a deal in place for Bishop last June and they had a scout at a recent Lightning game. However, he also said things are quiet on the Bishop trade front.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman isn’t going to just give Bishop away. If there’s a suitable return to be had, he’ll move him. If not, he’ll keep Bishop and hope he can at least salvage this season by backstopping them into the playoffs.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports Flames GM Brad Treliving said “he didn’t want to get into any of that” when asked if he approached defenseman Dennis Wideman about waiving his no-movement clause. While Wideman’s in the final season of his contract, his $5.25 million cap hit means there probably won’t be any takers for his services. With the acquisition of Michael Stone and the recent signing of Matt Bartkowski, Wideman’s now the odd man out on the Flames blueline.
Francis also doubts Treliving will make any significant moves leading up to the trade deadline. While the Flames were linked to Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop and Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, Francis believes the high asking prices for either guy is too expensive for Treliving’s taste.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames will probably have to pick up part of Wideman’s cap hit to move him. Even then, there likely won’t be many takers. I see him finishing this season in Calgary.
CSN BAY AREA: Kevin Kurz wonders what moves San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson has in mind leading up to the trade deadline. Two areas that make sense are a backup goaltender and a scoring winger. Kurz speculates the Sharks could stick with current backup Aaron Dell, who’s earned glowing reviews from Sharks coach Pete DeBoer.
Finding a scoring winger for the Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski line should be the priority. Kurz lists “Dallas’ Patrick Sharp or Patrick Eaves, Arizona’s Shane Doan, Colorado’s Jarome Iginla, Detroit’s Thomas Vanek, or even Vancouver’s Alex Burrows or Jannik Hansen” as possible options. Sharp could be an intriguing option, given his role in helping the Chicago Blackhawks win three Stanley Cups. His $5.9 million cap hit, however, could require some juggling.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I was Wilson, I’d target Eaves, Vanik or Hansen. Sharp might also be worthwhile for the right price. I’d pass on Doan, Iginla and Burrows who are well past their prime. As for their backup, Dell’s getting the job done. If DeBoer is confident in him, there’s no reason to seek an upgrade.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports it sounds like Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion could move young forward Curtis Lazar if he got a good return, but the Sens front office are reluctant to give up on him. Dreger feels a trade at the deadline at this point seems like a long shot. Dreger also notes Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to open his wallet if Dorion can make a move to help his team, but they’re unwilling to overpay for top assets for a top-six winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch said pretty much the same thing about Lazar. If the Sens could get a solid return, Dorion could consider it, but he’d prefer not to give up on the promising young forward. As both indicate, a Lazar trade doesn’t seem likely at this point. Maybe in the offseason if they get a good offer.
SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports the Detroit Red Wings received some calls about young forward Andreas Athanasiou when there were some battles over his ice time. While Wings GM Ken Holland won’t comment, Friedman cites a source saying Holland told them not to ask unless the offer was a “22-year-old top-pair defenseman.” While the Wings are open for business, they won’t move any of their cornerstone young players unless they get that type of return. They’ll also discuss re-signing defenseman Brendan Smith before making a decision on trading him.
MLIVE.COM: Brendan Savage expects the Detroit Red Wings to start shedding some assets soon, noting GM Ken Holland has said he would do so if his club’s playoff hopes were dim near the trade deadline. The top trade candidates are pending UFAs such as Tomas Vanek, Steve Ott and Brendan Smith. Defenseman Mike Green is another possibility. He has only a year left on his contract, but his $6 million salary could scare off potential suitors.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect the Wings will get an offer of a young top-pairing defenseman for one of their promising young forwards at the trade deadline. Maybe they’ll get one in the offseason from the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes or Minnesota Wild, as those clubs have lots of good young blueliners and they can’t protect them all in the expansion draft. Unless the Wings are willing to pick up a good chunk of Green’s cap hit, he’s not going anywhere. Vanek, Ott and Smith are likely goners.
SPORTSNET: Friedman also reports Dallas Stars winger Patrick Eaves would be a perfect fit to re-sign but apparently there’s been no talks on that subject. Eaves could be on the move by the trade deadeline.
There was talk earlier this season the Florida Panthers had interest in Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault. While Panthers GM Dale Tallon seeks help for his power play, Friedman believes Perreault’s four-year contract likely makes it impossible for the Panthers to pursue him now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Tallon goes shopping for someone to boost his power play it’ll likely be for a rental player. Don’t see him making a significant move for a player with term remaining on his contract, especially with the expansion draft coming in June.
Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins had interest in defenseman Michael Stone prior to his being dealt by the Arizona Coyotes to the Calgary Flames. He thinks Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Ron Hainsey could be a good fit with the Pens.
Speaking of the Flames, Friedman thinks GM Brad Treliving seeks a winger with an edge to his game and suspects he could be looking around for a goaltender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s colleague Nick Kypreos recently claimed the Flames revisited their interest in Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. However, it sounds like Pens GM Jim Rutherford intends to keep the veteran around as insurance over the remainder of this season.
Friedman thinks there are a couple of teams with interest in either Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche but they don’t believe they can complete this trade and still compete for a Stanley Cup because of the high asking price set by the Avs. The Anaheim Ducks have the assets to meet that price but GM Bob Murray has indicated he might wait until the offseason to make decisions about his blueline. Friedman also said it looks like the Avs would like to move Mikhail Grigorenko.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jason Gregor reports the question of whether the Oilers need an experienced backup is a hot topic right now. However, there aren’t many palatable options available. Arizona’s Louis Domingue (.895 SP) and Carolina’s Eddie Lack (.836) aren’t an improvement, Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop is too expensive and Gregor doubts the Oilers will bring back Anders Nilsson from Buffalo. Gregor said he wouldn’t be interested in the Islanders’ Jaroslav Halak or Anaheim’s Jhonas Enroth. New Jersey’s Keith Kincaid might be a good option, with 48 starts and a .910 save percentage, as would Philadelphia’s Michal Neuvirth.
Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson shuts out the Edmonton Oilers 2-0.
Game recaps, injury updates, the Predators slow start & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: In his first game since learning his wife has cancer, Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson made 37 saves to shut out the Edmonton Oilers 2-0.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An emotional victory for Anderson and his teammates. He was named the game’s first star and received a nice ovation from the Edmonton fans.
Michael Grabner tallied a hat trick to power the New York Rangers to a 6-1 beatdown of the Tampa Bay Lightning, spoiling the return of Ryan Callahan and Nikita Kucherov to the Bolts lineup.
Corey Crawford kicked out 32 shots and Jonathan Toews tallied his first goal of the season as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed blueliner Brayden McNabb on injured reserve.
Kyle Okposo scored twice as the Buffalo Sabres downed the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. The Jets played without defenseman Tyler Myers, who was sidelined by a lower-body injury.
Marcus Johansson’s two goals, including the game winner, lifted the Washington Capitals to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Brock Nelson and Shane Prince each had a goal and an assists as the New York Islanders thumped the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Thomas Vanek (lower-body injury) is now listed as week-to-week.
NBC SPORTS: Wings forward Steve Ott was fined over $2,200.00 for spearing Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara in a recent game.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are off to a surprisingly poor start, sporting a 2-5-1 record in October.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big things were expected of the Preds after they shipped long-time captain Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for puck-moving blueline star P.K. Subban. While Subban’s played well for the Preds, they haven’t performed well as a team. Meanwhile, Weber’s been a major factor in the Canadiens 8-0-1 start.
STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues strong penalty killing (93.9 percent) is a critical factor in their 5-2-2 start.
TSN.CA: Bauer’s bankruptcy could end up cancelling their endorsement contracts with top NHL stars such as Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.