Nikita Kucherov denies he was injured in the semifinals, Joel Armia in COVID protocol again, Jean-Gabriel Pageau faces surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov denied suffering an injury during Game 6 of the semifinal series against the New York Islanders. He left the game early following a hit by Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and didn’t return. He was back in the lineup for the Lightning’s series-clinching win in Game 7. “There was no injury, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said during yesterday’s media conference.
Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov left that game in obvious pain and didn’t return. Lightning coach Jon Cooper wasn’t sure if his leading scorer would return for Game 7. So yes, he suffered an injury, though it wasn’t serious enough to keep him out of the lineup for the final game of that series. He logged the fourth-most ice time among Lightning forwards in Game 7.
TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Joel Armia missed practice on Sunday and didn’t travel with the team to Tampa Bay after being placed in COVID-19 protocol. The club will release more details on Armia’s status today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armia was placed on the COVID protocol list back in March and missed eight games.
SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he was not aware of sexual assault allegations made during the 2010 playoffs by a former player during his tenure as the club’s director of pro personnel.
“It came out recently,” said Bergevin. “There was a meeting that I’ve heard was done in Chicago. I was not part of any meeting and I was not part of any decision based on that. I was not aware of what was going on at the time. You can go on the record with that.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin was not among the Blackhawks senior front office personnel listed by TSN to have attended that meeting to address the allegations. A former Blackhawks marketing official recently said the alleged sexual assault of two players was an open secret among the staff within and outside the organization.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports a league source claims New York Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau deal with multiple injuries during the semifinal series against Tampa Bay. One of them will likely require surgery.
NEW YORK POST: Islanders captain Anders Lee said he’s ahead of his initial recovery timeline and expects to join his teammates for the start of training camp in September. He underwent season-ending knee surgery in March.
Talk of resuming the NHL season in North Dakota, plus the latest on Robin Lehner, Seth Jones, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL and NHLPA are spitballing scenarios over where the remainder of the 2019-20 NHL season/playoff games could be played. One suggestion is staging a tournament-style schedule in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Other locales are also being discussed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most fans and pundits are writing off this season, but the NHL and NHLPA will explore every viable option to at least stage the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s more than just about crowning a Stanley Cup champion, as they also want to reduce their revenue losses. Canceling the season will reportedly cost them up to $1.1 billion in lost hockey-related revenue.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly will reportedly provide an update today to the league board of governors. It’s expected to focus on the recent talks between US President Donald Trump and the heads of the respective major professional sports leagues and organizations. The various models for a potential return to action could also be discussed.
NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner recently celebrated his second year of sobriety by taking to Twitter to thank his family and friends for reaching that milestone.
Seth Jones has resumed skating at the Columbus Blue Jackets’ training facility (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Lehner for turning his life and career around. Here’s hoping he has many more years of happiness.
ESPN.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones has resumed skating at the club’s training facility. He’s recovering from ankle surgery. As an injured player, he’s allowed to work out on team property as part of his rehab.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones should be ready to return to the Jackets’ lineup if the NHL returns this summer.
NEW YORK POST: Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau finds his professional and personal life in limbo because of the coronavirus. He was traded to the Islanders from the Ottawa Senators at the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He and his wife are still searching for a home.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights will donate meals to doctors, nurses and employees at local hospitals who are working during the coronavirus pandemic.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets training camp invitee Egor Sokolov is helping to deliver groceries around Sydney, Nova Scotia. Sokolov plays for the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
New York Rangers re-sign Chris Kreider to a seven-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $6.5 million
Not a trade, but Kreider was considered the top trade bait entering deadline day. Reports out of New York this morning suggested he was likely to be moved. The Rangers bent on the term, as they reportedly offered a six-year deal. Perhaps the Kreider camp gave a little on the dollars. The 28-year-old left-winger gets the long-term deal to stay put, but time will tell if this deal pans out over the long term for the Blueshirts.
The New York Islanders acquire and sign center Jean-Gabriel Pageau from the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).
The Islanders address a glaring need on their forward lines with Pageau, a skilled two-way player who can skate at center or on the wing. They overpaid to get him, sending a conditional first-round pick in 2020, a 2020 second-rounder, and a conditional third in 2022 to the Ottawa Senators. That was offset by re-signing Pageau to a six-year, $30-million contract extension. The rebuilding Senators got a fine return, leaving them with potentially 13 picks in the 2020 Draft, with nine of those in the first three rounds.
The Hurricanes shored up their banged-up blueline by parting with a first-round pick for Skjei and shipping forward Janne Kuokkanen and a conditional second-round pick to the Devils for Vatanen. With Dougie Hamilton out for several more weeks with a broken leg and Brett Pesce sidelined by an upper-body injury, Skjei and Vatanen should help fill the gaps.
The Panthers were rumored for weeks to be in the market for a top-four defenseman and Trocheck recently surfaced as a trade candidate. Instead, they swap him for checking-line forwards Erik Haula and Lucas Wallmark plus two prospects. Trocheck, meanwhile, should provide the Hurricanes with some welcome depth at center.
Big pickup there for the Golden Knights, shipping Malcolm Subban, a prospect and a second-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2019 Vezina Trophy finalist. Lehner will share the duties with starter Marc-Andre Fleury, providing Vegas with a solid one-two punch between the pipes.
Pittsburgh Penguins acquire forwards Patrick Marleau, Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford made a significant move earlier this month by acquiring Jason Zucker from Minnesota. He wasn’t done tinkering with his forward lines, bringing in three key playoff rentals. They got Marleau for the San Jose Sharks for a conditional third-rounder and shipped center Dominik Kahun to the Buffalo Sabres for winger Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues. In the twilight of his career, Marleau gets a final shot at winning the Stanley Cup. It’s Sheary’s second go-around with the Penguins, winning Cups with them in 2016 and 2017. Rodrigues had requested a trade from the Sabres earlier in the season.
The Oilers sent Sam Gagner and two second-round picks to the Detroit Red Wings for one of the fastest players in the league in Athanasiou, prompting speculation he’ll become a new linemate for Connor McDavid. If those two mesh well together, Athanasiou will regain the 30-goal form that he’s been lacking this season. Failing that, perhaps he’ll be a better fit on their second line with either Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers also acquired winger Tyler Ennis from the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Mke Green from the Red Wings.
With Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic still sidelined, the Flames sent a third-round pick in 2020 to the Chicago Blackhawks for Gustafsson and a conditional fourth in 2021 to the Los Angeles Kings for Forbort. Gustafsson is a mobile blueliner and Forbort will bring a physical edge to the Flames defense corps.
The Sabres sent a fifth-rounder in 2021 to the New Jersey Devils for Simmonds. He’ll provide leadership and experience, but won’t address their ongoing need for a scorer. At least they didn’t pay much to get him, plus the Devils picked up half of his $5-million salary-cap hit.
Boston Bruins trade winger Danton Heinen to the Anaheim Ducks for Nick Ritchie
This is a swap of two young forwards who needed a change of scenery. Ritchie was the Ducks first-round pick (10th overall) in 2014 but struggled to play up to expectations as a power forward. Heinen had a promising rookie performance (47 points) in 2017-18, but his production has eroded since then.
Colorado Avalanche land Vladislav Namestnikov
With their forward lines depleted by injuries, the Avs sent a 202 fourth-rounder to the Ottawa Senators for the versatile Namestnikov. The 27-year-old is a solid two-way forward who can skate at center or on the wing. He should fit in well on their checking lines.
Philadelphia Flyers add Derek Grant and Nate Thompson
The Flyers had an interest in Jean-Gabriel Pageau before the Senators shipped him to the Islanders. They instead went a more affordable route, sending a minor-league forward and a 2020 fourth-rounder to the Anaheim Ducks for Grant, and a 2021 fifth-rounder to the Montreal Canadiens for Nate Thompson. The two veterans will provide the Flyers with experienced depth up the middle.
Vancouver Canucks acquire Louis Domingue
With starting goalie Jacob Markstrom sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury, the Canucks sent minor-league goalie Zane McIntyre to the Devils for Domingue. He’ll split the duties with Thatcher Demko and should provide some additional insurance once Markstrom returns.
Vegas Golden Knights acquired goaltender Robin Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks for Malcolm Subban, Slava Demin and a 2nd round pick.
New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Sami Vatanen to the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Janne Kuokkanen and a second-round pick.
Buffalo Sabres trade Conor Sheary and Evan Rodrigues to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Dominik Kahun.
Calgary Flames acquire defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick.
Los Angeles Kings ship defenseman Derek Forbort to the Calgary Flames for a fourth-round pick.
Edmonton Oilers trade a fifth-round pick in 2021 to the Ottawa Senators for Tyler Ennis.
Edmonton Oilers acquired Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner from the Detroit Red Wings for Sam Gagner, a second-round pick in 2020 and a second-rounder in 2021.
Boston Bruins trade Danton Heinen to the Anaheim Ducks for Nick Ritchie.
Buffalo Sabres acquire winger Wayne Simmonds from the New Jersey Devils for a conditional fifth-rounder in 2021.
Philadelphia Flyers acquire center Derek Grant from the Anaheim Ducks for minor-league center Kyle Crisuolo and a fourth-round pick in 2020.
Toronto Maple Leafs trade goaltender Michael Hutchinson to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Calle Rosen.
Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Patrick Marleau from the San Jose Sharks for a conditional third-round pick in 2020. The pick becomes a second-rounder if the Penguins win the Stanley Cup.
Montreal Canadiens trade center Nate Thompson to the Philadelphia Flyers for a fifth-round pick in 2021.
Florida Panthers trade center Vincent Trocheck to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forwards Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark and prospects Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen.
New York Islanders acquire center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the New York Islanders for a first-round pick (lottery protected) in 2020, a second-rounder in 2020, and a third in 2022. There are conditions attached to all picks. The Islanders re-sign him to a six-year contract extension.
Ottawa Senators trade Vladislav Namestnikov to the Colorado Avalanche for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.
Detroit Red Wings trade defenseman Mike Green to the Edmonton Oilers for sidelined forward Kyle Brodziak and a conditional draft pick.
NHL Rumor Mill (Trade Deadline Edition) – February 24, 2020
The NHL 2020 Trade Deadline is today at 3 pm ET. Here’s the latest on Chris Kreider, Joe Thornton, Tyson Barrie, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and more in the rumor mill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be evaluating today’s notable deals in the Soapbox following the deadline. While we’re waiting for today’s activities, check out TSN’s updated Trade Bait list.
UPDATE ON KREIDER
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it appears the New York Rangers will move Chris Kreider before today’s deadline as contract talks reached an impasse. The Rangers offered a six-year extension worth just under $7 million annually, but the Kreider camp seeks a seven-year term.
The Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Vegas Golden Knights could have an interest in Kreider. The New York Islanders may have also checked in, but Brooks feels they have no chance of landing Kreider.
The New York Rangers are expected to move winger Chris Kreider before today’s 3 pm ET trade deadline (Photo via NHL Images).
The Blueshirts could also entertain offers for Marc Staal and Brady Skjei. Brett Cyrgalis believes Jesper Fast could garner the Rangers a second- or third-round pick.
TSN (via Forever Blueshirts): Darren Dreger last night reported the Rangers have an offer of a first-round pick on the table. The expectation is they could get a first-round pick and a prospect or a first and an NHL player.
**UPDATE** The Rangers announce they’ve re-signed Kreider to a seven-year extension worth an annual average value of $6.5 million.
INTEREST REMAINS IN THORNTON
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports there’s still no confirmation San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton will waive his no-movement clause. Four clubs (Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning) are thought to be on his shortlist of trade destinations. It’s believed Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has been granted permission to at least explore what he could get from those clubs.
LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope believes Erik Gustafsson will almost certainly be traded today after the Blackhawks left the defenseman in Chicago as they departed on their current road trip. Other Blackhawks trade candidates could include goaltender Robin Lehner or winger Brandon Saad. Trade partners could include the Carolina Hurricanes, Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Florida Panthers.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus report the Hurricanes aren’t willing to part with one of their two first-round picks in this year’s draft for Lehner. Two team sources claim three or four clubs could be interested in Gustafsson. The Golden Knights were thought to be among them, but that no longer seems to be the case. If Lehner isn’t moved today, contract talks with Hawks management could resume.
SENATORS STILL TRYING TO RE-SIGN PAGEAU
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are still believed trying to re-sign Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a contract extension before today’s trade deadline. While they’ve listened to trade offers, other clubs realize the Sens wish to keep him. Meanwhile, forward Vladislav Namestnikov and Tyler Ennis were recent healthy scratches as there’s interest in both players from other teams.
What happens with the Rangers’ Chris Kreider could determine the fates of Pageau, Namestnikov, and Ennis. The Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames are all seeking forward depth.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the Detroit Red Wings held Andreas Athanasiou and Mike Green out of yesterday’s game against the Calgary Flames. With Green subsequently traded to the Edmonton Oilers, Athanasiou could be next.
The Oilers are rumored as a potential destination for Athanasiou. The Wings are trying to stock up on draft picks, prospects, and young players.
DUCKS SHOPPING GRANT?
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Elliott Teaford reports the Anaheim Ducks held Derek Grant out of the lineup in last night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks as a precautionary measure. It’s a clear sign Ducks GM Bob Murray has at least one offer for the 29-year-old center.
Are the Bruins targeting Brandon Saad? Could the Leafs trade Tyson Barrie? Could the Senators re-sign Jean-Gabriel Pageau? Are the Canadiens eyeing Ryan Graves? All this and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
BRUINS EYEING BLACKHAWKS’ SAAD?
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri are the two biggest names available for the Boston Bruins if they wish to add a top-six winger. However, the high asking prices for either guy could force them to consider other targets. He cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad as an option.
THE ATHLETIC: Joe McDonald and Scott Powers cite sources claiming the Bruins are considering making a pitch for Saad. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would have to get creative to pull it off. Powers believes the Blackhawks would want at least a first-round pick as part of the return.
Could the Boston Bruins make a pitch for Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad? (Photo via NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers reportedly seek a first-round pick, a prospect, and something else for Kreider. Landing Palmieri or Saad, who are signed beyond this season, could cost as much or more. Acquiring a quality top-six winger won’t be cheap. If Sweeney is willing to pay the price, it should be for a player with term on his contract, rather than a rental player.
LATEST ON THE LEAFS
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports several teams reached out to the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding Tyson Barrie after several trades involving defensemen went down earlier this week. The Leafs would consider moving Barrie under the right circumstances. Either a club offers a blueliner in a player-for-player swap, or picks and prospects that the Leafs can flip to another club for a right-shot rearguard.
The Vancouver Canucks are among the interested parties. McKenzie said there’s lots of talk out of Vancouver suggesting Troy Stecher could be available, but it remains to be seen if he’d be part of any deal involving the Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie hasn’t worked out with the Leafs, but some rival GMs could gamble on him regaining his form away from the harsh Toronto spotlight. The Canucks have over $7 million in projected trade-deadline cap space, giving them room to pick up Barrie’s $2.75-million cap hit.
UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS
TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie wondered if Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic might be interested in Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin, reuniting him with former Halifax Mooseheads linemate Nathan MacKinnon. He suggested Avs young center Tyson Jost could be available.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Montreal Canadiens are having talks with Ilya Kovalchuk’s agent while weighing trade offers for the 36-year-old winger. A contract extension would be a bonus-laden, one-year deal. It’s also possible he could sign that contract as a UFA with the Canadiens.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW’s Adrian Dater said he’s heard the Canadiens are pursuing Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are interested in Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry. However, a source told LeBrun there’s 95 percent chance the Habs won’t move Petry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic needs an affordable, short-term replacement for sidelined winger Mikko Rantanen, not a struggling winger with an expensive long-term deal. Drouin carries a $5.5-million AAV through 2022-23. It’s not surprising the Habs would have interest in Graves, but I think the Avs would be reluctant to part with him.
As for Petry, I think Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will have to be blown away by an incredible offer. If, say, the Avs offered up Graves in a package offer, that might get it done.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES AND OILERS
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports it’s no secret Flames GM Brad Treliving wants to add a scoring forward. Those on his radar could include New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Florida’s Mike Hoffman, and Vincent Trocheck, Columbus’ Josh Anderson or Montreal’s Max Domi. He could also seek an affordable depth addition on defense, though Gilbertson wonders if he’ll try to pry Matt Dumba away from the Minnesota Wild.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes the Oilers limited salary-cap room will hamper their efforts to bolster their roster at the trade deadline. GM Ken Holland said he’s not shopping RFA winger Jesse Puljujarvi and no one’s asking about him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving made a failed attempt to acquire Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild at last year’s deadline. With just over $2.33 million in projected deadline cap room, he could be stuck in the bargain bin unless he parts with a quality player in a dollar-for-dollar swap.
Holland’s Oilers are up against the cap, leaving him no wiggle room. If he makes a move, it’ll be dollar-in, dollar-out.
SENATORS TALK CONTRACT WITH PAGEAU, COULD SHOP NAMESTNIKOV.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks have started in recent days between the Ottawa Senators and pending UFA center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. The two sides have exchanged numbers, but LeBrun doesn’t know how close they are. The Philadelphia Flyers could be interested if the Sens fail to re-sign Pageau before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, though they won’t part with a first-round pick. The Senators could also hang onto Pageau if they don’t receive any offers to their liking and try again to re-sign him before July 1.
Darren Dreger reports the Senators scratched center Vladislav Namestnikov from last night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets. That suggests Namestnikov is close to being traded. GM Pierre Dorion has received offers from the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, suggests Tyler Ennis could interest a club like the Edmonton Oilers looking for affordable depth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Namestnikov is on his way out, perhaps as soon as today. It’ll be interesting to see if he heads to one of those four clubs or if someone else outbids them.
CANUCKS HAMPERED BY SALARY CAP
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks interest in New Jersey Devils winger Wayne Simmonds has been hampered by their limited salary-cap room. The potential return of winger Brock Boeser by the end of this season complicates efforts to acquire Simmonds.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to consider more affordable options to replace sidelined power forward Micheal Ferland. They’re also reportedly in the market for Tyson Barrie, who’d been much more affordable than Simmonds and his $5 million cap hit.
LATEST ON THE SABRES
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski lists Conor Sheary, Jimmy Vesey, and Zemgus Girgensons as the most likely Sabres to be dealt at the trade deadline. Among the least likely is defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Lysowski feels the acquisition cost could be astronomical, advocating he shouldn’t be moved unless it’s for a top-six forward.