“Philadelphia trades Ivan Provorov and Hayden Hodgson to Los Angeles in exchange for Cal Peterson, Sean Walker, Helge Grans and the Kings’ 2024 second-round pick. Columbus acquires Kevin Connauton from Philadelphia in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick (22nd overall) and conditional second-round pick in either the 2024 or 2025 NHL Draft. Columbus acquires Provorov from Los Angeles in exchange for Connauton.”
Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Ivan Provorov in three-team deal (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first major trade of the 2023 NHL off-season is also the first trade by Daniel Briere since taking over as Flyers general manager in March. He’s wasting no time putting his stamp on his club with a healthy return for Provorov.
A skilled puck-moving defenseman, Provorov had difficulty playing up to expectations for the Flyers since 2019-20. With 13 goals and 36 points in 69 games, he was on pace for a career-best performance before that regular season was prematurely ended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Landing a first-round pick in this year’s draft plus two second-rounders in 2024 as part of the return for Provorov will be useful investments in the Flyers’ rebuilding process. They could also be used as trade capital to add more immediate roster help.
Grans, 21, is a promising defense prospect with two AHL seasons under his belt. Walker has a season remaining on his contract and will bring some additional experience to the Flyers blueline.
As per Cap Friendly, the Kings retained 30 percent ($2.025 million) of Provorov’s $6.75 million average annual value through 2024-25. That’s more affordable than carrying Petersen’s $5 million AAV over the same period.
Petersen had a 10-team no-trade clause. He either waived it to go to Philadelphia or the Flyers weren’t on that list. He’s the most intriguing piece of this deal for the Flyers, prompting speculation that Briere could attempt to trade starter Carter Hart. Petersen’s earning more than Hart ($3.979 million) but his struggles last season saw him banished by the Kings to the minors.
The Blue Jackets are hoping that a change of scenery could help Provorov regain his once-promising form. A left-side rearguard, he’ll fill the void on their blueline from the departure of Vladislav Gavrikov, who was shipped to the Kings at the trade deadline. Considering what they’ve given up to get him, this could be an expensive gamble for the Jackets.
Speaking of the Kings, they now have $13.2 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 16 active roster players under contract. This move cleared sufficient cap space to re-sign Gavrikov, who was a solid fit with the club over the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.
Figuring out how to free up more salary-cap space should be a priority. Veterans like Alex Killorn, Corey Perry and Ian Cole are eligible for unrestricted free-agent status this summer. They also have limited trade capital with just three picks in this year’s draft.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Alex Killorn (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois did a fine job managing his limited cap space to maintain a contender for the past three years. However, he now faces a different challenge in figuring out how to restore the depth around his core talent before their best seasons are behind them.
BriseBois could find it easier should the salary cap increase this summer by more than the projected $1 million. Otherwise, he could face another offseason shedding more roster depth and trying to find suitable replacements at cheaper prices.
Ryan S. Clark examined what could be in store this summer for the Los Angeles Kings following their second straight first-round elimination by the Edmonton Oilers.
The Kings will have to ensure they’ve got sufficient cap space to re-sign restricted free-agent forward Gabriel Vilardi. They’ll also have to decide what to do with pending unrestricted free agents Joona Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov.
They’ll also have to decide what to do with goaltender Cal Petersen, who’s completing the first season of a three-year contract worth $5 million annually. The struggles of Petersen and now-former Kings goalie Jonathan Quick led the Kings to turn to Pheonix Copley for large stretches of the season before acquiring Korpisalo at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how general manager Rob Blake addresses this situation. Vilardi’s performance this season has him in line for a significant raise while Korpisalo and Gavrikov were solid additions who are worth retaining if there’s sufficient cap room to do so.
Trading Petersen could free up valuable cap space to re-sign Vilardi and retain Korpisalo and/or Gavrikov. Given his struggles over the past two seasons, however, it’s unlikely they’ll find any takers unless they retain a portion of his salary or take back a bad contract in return.
LATEST ON THE JETS
WINNIPEG SUN: Ted Wyman reports Jets winger Kyle Connor isn’t interested in being part of a roster rebuild at this stage in his career. “I don’t think anybody in that locker room wants to be part of a rebuild,” he said. Connor is among the few Jets stars with more than one year remaining on his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much of the focus on a possible Jets rebuild is based on shipping out Scheifele, Wheeler, Hellebuyck and Dubois and using the returns to build around players like Connor, Josh Morrissey and Nikolaj Ehlers who still have term on the contracts beyond next season. It hasn’t taken into account that those players might not want to be part of that process
Connor pointed out he has no say in what management does. Nevertheless, his comments could have some impact on their offseason decisions. Instead of trading those players for draft picks and prospects, perhaps they seek returns that provide a quicker turnaround in the Jets’ fortunes.
Speaking of Dubois, Wyman reported he was dismissive of the rumors about his future. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old center made no secret that he’d like to choose where he plays once he becomes a UFA.
“The right to choose is something that personally, it gives you power,” said Dubois. “You can make your decision and not just go where you’re told. So for me, that’s something that’s pretty important.”
Speculation has linked Dubois to the Montreal Canadiens since his agent last summer hinted that he might like to play for them one day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois playing coy over whether he’s interested in a long-term deal with the Jets. His comments will only stoke speculation that he could be traded to the Canadiens this summer.
Hellebuyck has no idea if he’ll be part of the Jets future beyond this season. “I don’t know what their plans are, and I don’t know if I’m in it, to be honest,” he said. “If they decide to move me, that’s their call. If they decide to try to talk, I haven’t really thought about that yet.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck also isn’t interested in a rebuild. “My main goal is to win a Stanley Cup and I’m running out of time,” said the 30-year-old goaltender.
Scott Billeck reported Scheifele was non-committal about his future. He learned his lesson from last year when season-ending remarks about doing what’s best for him and his career sparked weeks of trade speculation.
“I think it’s too early to talk about,” said Scheifele. He plans to take time in the coming days and weeks to think about it and figure things out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the Jets return next season with their current core intact. They’ve been in decline over the past five seasons. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has been patient to a fault but it’s apparent that this group isn’t getting any better. Changes are necessary and could be coming as early as June in the lead-up to the 2023 Draft in Nashville.
NHL WATCHER: cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek on the “32 Thoughts” podcast wondering if Blake Wheeler might be a fit with the Philadelphia Flyers or Boston Bruins given the questions about the futures of Flyers center Sean Couturier and Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. Marek believes Wheeler fits the mold of those teams.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Chuck Fletcher were still the Flyers GM, then yes, Wheeler would fit their mold. Not anymore. The Flyers are rebuilding and Wheeler (who turns 37 in August) is too old to be a suitable part of that process. As for the Bruins, I think they’d be more interested in someone who’s younger as a possible replacement for Bergeron.
The first is whether general manager Lou Lamoriello will be back. It’s unknown if the 80-year-old has signed a contract extension to stay on as president and general manager of the Islanders for next season. His current deal is believed to expire at the end of this season.
With centers Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal under long-term contracts, Sears wondered if Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Brock Nelson might be traded for resources that could be deployed elsewhere in the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sears doesn’t expect the Islanders to engage in a roster teardown and neither do I. However, they must bolster their offense if they hope to be more than a marginal playoff contender in the Metropolitan Division. That could involve one or two cost-cutting moves to free up sufficient cap space to address that issue this summer.
Does Trevor Zegras have a long-term future with the Ducks? Which Flames could become offseason trade chips? What could the Kings do with Cal Petersen? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
DOES ZEGRAS HAVE A FUTURE IN ANAHEIM?
TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos questions whether Trevor Zegras has a long-term future with the Anaheim Ducks after listening to Hall-of-Famer Adam Oates, the 21-year-old center’s skills coach. “There’s a difference between Instagram skill and regular skill and I’m trying to get the Instagram out of there,” said Oates.
Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oates was interviewed by Kypreos and Justin Bourne on their podcast on Tuesday. He acknowledged that Zegras has highlight-reel skills but he felt there’s a time and place for Zegras to try them. Oates added that the young center has responded positively about the issue during their discussions and acknowledged he still has much to learn.
Negotiations between Ducks management and Zegras over his next contract could be cause for concern. He’s completing his entry-level contract and his camp will undoubtedly push for a significant raise on his next deal. The outcome of those discussions could become a determining factor in his long-term future with the club.
It wouldn’t be surprising if he and the Ducks agree to a lucrative eight-year contract. At the very least I anticipate he’ll be playing for them for at least the next four seasons.
McKenzie doesn’t expect either player to be shopped, pointing out they were brought in last summer with the idea that the Flames wanted to be competitive for the next little while. He also doesn’t expect two forwards who will be over 30 next season carrying expensive long-term contracts would fetch much of a return even if with some salary retained in the deal.
More realistic trade chips will be players on expiring contracts next season such as Mikael Backlund, Noah Hanifin, or Chris Tanev. If Brad Treliving remains as general manager, however, McKenzie wouldn’t be surprised if he hangs onto his core.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames could face another interesting offseason. Big changes could be coming if Treliving is let go as general manager. Then again, perhaps Treliving shakes things up a bit if he stays. They’ll definitely be worth keeping an eye on this summer.
WHAT WILL THE KINGS DO WITH PETERSEN?
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently wondered what the Los Angeles Kings will do with Cal Petersen. General manager Rob Blake bet big on Petersen taking over from Jonathan Quick as the Kings’ starting goaltender, signing him in 2021 to a three-year, $15 million contract that began this season.
Unless there’s a desire by the Kings to trade the 28-year-old Petersen, Stephens believes helping him get back on track is their priority. They re-signed Copley for next season but Korpisalo is slated to become a UFA this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Kings re-sign Korpisalo they’ll be trying to move Petersen this summer though they might end up having to retain some salary to do so. His 10-team no-trade clause could also complicate things.
The Lightning’s Steve Stamkos reaches a scoring milestone, the Stars’ Jason Robertson extends his points streak, the three stars and the rookie of the month for November are revealed, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos became the first player in franchise history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Stamkos assisted on the second of Nick Paul’s two goals to reach the milestone while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 21 saves as the Lightning improved their record to 14-8-1. Travis Konecny replied for the Flyers as they fall to 8-11-5.
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos’ teammates poured off the bench to congratulate their captain on his achievement. The 32-year-old forward shows no signs of slowing down, leading his club with 13 goals and sitting second in points with 28.
Konecny and Tony DeAngelo returned to the Flyers’ lineup after being briefly sidelined by injuries. Earlier in the day, general manager Chuck Fletcher said Ryan Ellis will not play this season. He’s been sidelined since last November by what could be a career-threatening back injury.
Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson extended his points streak to 17 games by tallying a hat trick as his club blanked the Anaheim Ducks 5-0. Jake Oettinger made 31 saves for the shutout while Miro Heiskanen collected three assists. The Stars (14-6-4) have 32 points and hold a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division. The Ducks (6-16-2) sit dead last in the overall standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Robertson is the first player to score 20 goals this season.
Colorado Avalanche center scored two goals and set up three others in a 6-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. J.T. Compher scored twice and collected two assists as the Avalanche improved to 13-7-1. Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens each had a goal and two assists for the 10-13-1 Sabres.
The Nashville Predators blew a 2-0 lead but rallied to down the league-leading New Jersey Devils 4-3 in overtime. Ryan Johansen tallied twice, including the game-winner as the Predators improved to 11-9-2. Jack Hughes and Erik Haula each collected two assists for the Devils (19-4-1) as their 39 points put them one up on the Boston Bruins in the overall standings.
Third-period goals by Jake Guentzel and Kasperi Kapanen lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 4-3. Guentzel, Kapanen and Brock McGinn each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (12-8-4). Logan Thompson made 43 saves and Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist for the 17-7-1 Golden Knights as they sit atop the Western Conference with 35 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby credited sidelined teammate Kris Letang as inspiration for his club’s win. Letang is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a minor stroke on Monday. Letang went for a brief skate on his own yesterday morning but it was more for his mental health than anything else. His condition is not considered career-threatening but there’s no timetable for his return.
The Seattle Kraken improved to 15-5-3 and moved to within two points of the Golden Knights with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals. Matty Beniers scored the winner as the Kraken overcame a 2-0 deficit while Andre Burakovsky and Vince Dunn each picked up two assists. Alex Ovechkin collected two assists as the Capitals fell to 10-11-4.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook tallied a hat trick in a 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues. Brent Burns picked up two assists for the 13-6-5 Hurricanes while Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich each had two points for the Blues, who drop to 11-12-0.
Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. Kaprizov set a franchise record for consecutive games with assists (nine) while extending his points streak to 10 games while the Wild improve to 11-9-2. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist for the 13-11-0 Oilers. McDavid leads all NHL scorers with 43 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Wild recalled defenseman Andrej Sustr to replace Jonas Brodin, who’s out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan collected two assists while Jake Allen kicked out 45 shots in a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Juraj Slafkovsky and Cole Caufield scored for the Canadiens (12-10-1) while Elias Lindholm replied for the 10-10-3 Flames.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Monahan’s first game in Calgary against the Flames since he was traded to the Canadiens in the offseason. He received a video tribute from his former club and a standing ovation from Flames fans. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens announced that winger Brendan Gallagher would miss the game with a lower-body injury while winger Mike Hoffman (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.
The Florida Panthers got two goals from Sam Bennett and three points from Matthew Tkachuk to beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 and improve their record to 11-9-4. Dakota Joshua replied for the Canucks (9-12-3), who also lost goaltender Thatcher Demko in the first period with an apparent injury to his right leg. No word as to the severity of Demko’s injury.
Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice, including the winning goal in the third period, to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist for the Kings (13-9-4). Rookies Dylan Guenther and Matias Macelli each collected two assists for the Coyotes, who fell to 7-11-3.
NHL.COM: Stars winger Jason Robertson, Devils goalie Vitek Vanecek and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner are the NHL’s three stars for November 2022. Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson is the rookie of the month for November.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed forward Tyler Bertuzzi on injured reserve with a hand injury.
OTTAWA SUN: The deadline for the Senators to reach an agreement on a new contract with restricted free-agent winger Alex Formenton passed yesterday without a deal. Formenton, 23, is now ineligible to play in the NHL for the remainder of this season but his rights are still held by the Senators.
TSN: Maple Leafs forward Calle Jarnkrok is expected to miss some time after leaving Wednesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks with a groin injury.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed defenseman Jarred Tinordi (hip) on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 27 and recalled blueliner Ian Mitchell from their AHL affiliate in Rockford.
Former Buffalo Sabres center Riley Sheahan has signed with EHC Biel in Switzerland. Sheahan and the Sabres mutually agreed to terminate his contract earlier this week after he decline demotion to their AHL affiliate.
Mitch Marner ties a Leafs points-streak record, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is sidelined indefinitely following a minor stroke, Canucks to honor Roberto Luongo and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner scored an empty-net goal to tie the franchise record for consecutive points (18) in a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Pierre Engvall snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period while Ilya Samsonov made 23 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a knee injury on Nov. 5. The Leafs improve to 15-5-5 (35 points) to sit three points behind the league-leading Boston Bruins while the Sharks fall to 8-14-4.
Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs forward Calle Jarnkrok left this game in the second period with a groin injury.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist to become the first player to reach 40 points as his club held off the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 5-4. Leon Draisaitl scored twice, including what proved to be the game-winner for the Oilers (13-10-0) while Max Domi tallied twice for the 6-12-4 Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi’s been among the few bright spots in what’s becoming a difficult season for the rebuilding Blackhawks. He’s second in points with 16 in 22 games and could become a valuable trade chip for them if he’s still playing well leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.
The Buffalo Sabres blew a three-goal third-period lead but defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 on a shootout goal by Jack Quinn. Dylan Cozen scored twice while Craig Anderson made 41 saves for the win as the Sabres improved to 10-12-1. Oskar Sundqvist tallied twice for the 11-6-5 Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings winger Tyler Bertuzzi left this game after being struck on the left hand by a shot from teammate Ben Chiarot. Wings head coach Derek Lalonde had no update on Bertuzzi’s condition following the game.
New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren collected three assists as his club defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Jaroslav Halak stopped 34 shots for his first win with the Rangers (11-9-4) as they snapped a three-game winless skid. Shane Pinto scored for the 8-13-1 Senators.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a minor stroke on Monday. General manager Ron Hextall said Letang’s stroke is “much less severe” than the one he suffered in 2014 that sidelined him for several months.
Letang visited his teammates following their game against the Carolina Hurricanes to reassure them about his condition. He’s undergoing further testing but so far he’s doing okay. However, there is no timetable for his return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Letang for a swift recovery and his return to the Penguins lineup. Thankfully, his condition isn’t considered career-threatening.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks intend to honor former goaltender Roberto Luongo by inducting him into the club’s Ring of Honour next season. The newly-inducted member of the Hockey Hall of Fame is the franchise leader in single-season wins (47), games played (76) and shutouts (nine) as well as their leader in career wins (252) and shutouts (38).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised they’re not retiring Luongo’s number but at least they’re recognizing the achievements of his eight seasons in Vancouver.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: After Boston Bruins’ NESN broadcaster Jack Edwards mocked Pat Maroon’s weight during a recent game, the Lightning winger took the high road by donating $2,000.00 in Edwards’ name to a local non-profit that helps people struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy observed that Edwards’ bizarre comments didn’t go down well with fans and pundits around the NHL. However, he doesn’t anticipate an apology from Edwards or NESN, who have supported their sometimes controversial play-by-play man for his flippant comments in the past.
DAILY FACEOFF: The Los Angeles Kings placed goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers yesterday. The 28-year-old has struggled since signing a three-year, $15-million contract last season. He has a 5-3-2 record thus far this season with a .868 save percentage and a 3.78 goals-against average. The club had no comment yesterday about the move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a surprising move. It wasn’t that long ago that Petersen was considered the heir apparent to Kings starter Jonathan Quick. I doubt any club will claim him given his $5 million average annual value. If he clears waivers as expected he could be sent to the Kings’ AHL affiliate to work on his game.
With the Jack Eichel trade watch finally over, here’s the latest on the Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox cites Nick Kypreos reporting Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is now focused on signing Jack Campbell to a new contract after getting Morgan Rielly signed to a long-term extension. Asked about Kypreos’ report, Campbell neither confirmed nor denied it but indicated he’d love to stay in Toronto.
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).
Fox pointed out Campbell’s made $4.2 million in career earnings so he’ll be seeking a significant pay raise on his next contract. With just $7.2 million in cap space for 2022-23, the Leafs could try to keep the cap hit on his next deal as low as possible. He speculates Campbell’s agent could use the three-year, $15 million deal signed by Calvin Petersen with the Los Angeles Kings as a comparable.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs also have 15 players under contract for ’22-’23. Whatever it costs to re-sign or replace Campbell, they’ll have to get creative to free up sufficient cap room. Perhaps it’ll be a cost-cutting trade or maybe they acquire the contract of a player permanently on long-term injury reserve.
THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Elliotte Friedman reported the Leafs are shopping a right-side defenseman. He speculated it could be Travis Dermott, who is listed as day-to-day with a foot injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott has slipped down the Leafs’ depth chart under head coach Sheldon Keefe. The 24-year-old might benefit from a change of scenery. He carries an annual average value of $1.5 million through 2022-23.