NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2020

Game recaps, three stars of the week, plus updates on Frederik Andersen, Carey Price and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An upper-body injury to Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen overshadowed their 5-3 defeat to the Florida Panthers. Andersen suffered the injury following a first-period collision with Panthers winger Frank Vatrano. Before that, the Leafs goalie was a bit slow getting re-set after being bumped twice. No word yet regarding his status for Wednesday’s game against the New York Rangers. Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk tallied his first career NHL hat trick. The Panthers (63 points) moved into third place in the Atlantic Division, pushing the Leafs out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen suffered an upper-body injury during Monday’s 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs were down 1-0 before Andersen’s injury. They took as 3-1 lead after backup Michael Hutchinson came in, but gave up four straight third-period goals. If Andersen’s sidelined long-term it’ll be a serious blow to the Leafs playoff hopes. It could also push general manager Kyle Dubas into the trade market for help. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

Stephen Johns scored his first goal in nearly two years as the Dallas Stars downed the New York Rangers 5-3. Johns recently returned to action after being sidelined since 2018 by a head injury. Stars center Joe Pavelski scored twice within 16 seconds in the first period.

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made 16 saves in a 3-0 blanking of the Detroit Red Wings. Scott Laughton, Kevin Hayes, and Matt Niskanen were the goal scorers. The Flyers (65 points) have won six of their last eight games and hold the first wild-card in the Eastern Conference.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers winger Leon Draisaitl, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, and Vancouver Canucks winger J.T. Miller are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 2.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen revealed his recent one-game benching was due to missing practice on Friday because he overslept.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The flu has sidelined Canadiens netminder Carey Price from tonight’s game with the New Jersey Devils.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Alexander Wennberg (upper body) was placed on injury reserve. He’s expected to miss three-to-four weeks.

TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks claimed defenseman Nick Seeler off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Local police have cleared Flyers mascot Gritty in the alleged assault of a 13-year-old fan in November.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2019

The latest on the Senators, Oilers, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE SENATORS SHOP BOBBY RYAN?

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan has struggled to produce through the early going (Photo via NHL Images).

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch wonders what’s next for Senators winger Bobby Ryan after he was a healthy scratch on Sunday. He’s their highest-paid player but he isn’t producing. His contract would make him difficult to trade. Garrioch doubts there’s much of a market for the 32-year-old winger.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian also considers Ryan’s contract too expensive to move. He’s signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $7.25 million. Salvian feels it would take packaging Ryan with a first-round pick to make him palatable in the trade market. With the Senators in the throes of a rebuild, that’s something they shouldn’t do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Ryan has a modified no-trade clause listing 10 preferred trade destinations. Given his cap hit, age, and declining production, I doubt the Senators would find many takers.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders if the Oilers should “go nuclear” to address their lack of scoring depth beyond Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. That option would include shopping Jesse Puljujarvi for help on the right wing. Staples is against moving Puljujarvi, preferring to let him play out the season in Finland before a decision is made. Nevertheless, he feels that move could land a second-line winger or a third-line center.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis wonders if the Oilers should trade for a veteran NHL defenseman. He pointed out Florida Panthers’ defenseman Mark Pysyk has frequently surfaced in recent trade rumors and could be a fit on the Oilers’ second pairing. However, the Oilers have weathered the absence of sidelined blueliner Adam Larsson. Young Ethan Bear has emerged and sidelined rearguard Joel Persson is close to returning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Oilers’ secondary scoring is their main concern. If Puljujarvi would fetch a second-line winger or third-line center I believe general manager Ken Holland would pull the trigger. However, that option probably isn’t available now. I don’t doubt there are clubs interested in Puljujarvi but they won’t part with the type of player suggested by Staples.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2019

Potential destinations for Jesse Puljujarvi, an update on the Sharks, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

POSSIBLE DESTINATIONS FOR PULJUJARVI

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently explored possible destinations for Jesse Puljujarvi. The restricted free agent winger is playing in Finland awaiting a trade by the Edmonton Oilers.

Will the Edmonton Oilers find a suitable trade partner for Jesse Puljujarvi? (Photo via NHL Images)

Mitchell thinks the St. Louis Blues are the most likely destination, citing their previous trade history as well as Puljujarvi’s potential and his potentially low salary. Mitchell thinks Klim Kostin is the obvious piece heading the other way. If that offer was made and rejected, he doesn’t see the Blues sweetening the pot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ previous trade history with the Blues is probably irrelevant with Ken Holland is their general manager. If the Blues were interested in Puljujarvi it’s probably a low priority.

Mitchell observed Anaheim Ducks winger Nick Ritchie was a healthy scratch from a recent game. He could be a fit on the Oilers’ third line. The Carolina Hurricanes were linked to Puljujarvi, with winger Julien Gauthier mentioned as a possible return. Gauthier was demoted to their AHL affiliate to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ritchie played on Oct. 8 against the Detroit Red Wings, scoring the game-winning goal. The Hurricanes recently recalled Gauthier but there’s no indication he’s available. 

Speculation also linked the Tampa Bay Lightning to Puljujarvi. Mitchell suggests prospects Alexander Volkov, Alex Barre-Boulet, or Taylor Raddysh as a possible return. He also wondered if the Winnipeg Jets might be interested. The Oilers could use a center like Jack Roslovic, but the Jets could use him as a trade chip to land a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning probably isn’t feeling pressure to swing a deal right now. Off-season media chatter suggested reuniting Pujujarvi with former Finnish linemate Patrik Laine. Given the Jets’ depleted blue line, however, I doubt they’re considering that possibility. Speaking of the Jets…

JETS LOOKING AT PANTHERS’ PYSYK?

Appearing on SPORTSNET 960 (Stick tap to @Account4hockey) on Oct. 7, Elliotte Friedman reported the Jets may have looked at Mark Pysyk. The Florida Panthers defenseman is believed available in the trade market. However, the Jets are stuck until Dustin Byfuglien decides on his future. Friedman also said the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks “kicked tires” on Pysyk.

SHARKS NOT DONE MAKING MOVES?

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Chelena Goldman speculates the San Jose Sharks might not be done making moves after bringing back winger Patrick Marleau earlier this week. One could be waiving Jonny Brodzinski to make room for Marleau’s $700K salary.

The Sharks also have 10 players slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Depending on how determined they are to right the ship after losing their first four games, that could provide flexibility for other moves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those UFAs also include Melker Karlsson, Brenden Dillon, Tim Heed, and Aaron Dell. Perhaps one of them becomes a trade candidate if the Sharks don’t snap out of their slump.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2019

The latest on the Pittsburgh Penguins plus updates on Roman Josi, Alex Pietrangelo, Brian Boyle and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD INJURIES FORCE THE PENGUINS INTO THE TRADE MARKET?

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports injuries will sideline Pittsburgh Penguins centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad for the next four weeks. While there’s no way they can find a suitable replacement for Malkin, McKenzie wonders if they’ll draw upon their blueline depth to find some short-term help in the trade market.

Jack Johnson was mentioned in recent trade speculation. McKenzie also suggested throwing Erik Gudbranson into the mix. It would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move to allow sufficient cap space when Malkin and Bjugstad return.

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said it’s too early to pursue a trade for a center. Rutherford tried to peddle Johnson at the end of training camp. Rossi speculates he could call up a couple of forwards from their AHL affiliate.

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to shop Jack Johnson for a center? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s not much of a market for Johnson and I doubt Rutherford will have much luck floating Gudbranson in the trade market. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested Juuso Riikola as an option. The Penguins will probably ride it out for the time being while Rutherford keeps an eye on the trade market and the waiver wire.

INTEREST GROWING IN BOYLE

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there’s significant interest in Brian Boyle. The free-agent center is talking with several teams. McKenzie claims one of those clubs must either clear some salary-cap space or a roster spot to sign Boyle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wonder if the Penguins might be among those teams?

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Roman Josi’s contract negotiations with the Nashville Predators have hit a snag. There was momentum in those talks during the summer but that’s stopped now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Tennessean’s Paul Skrbina suggests Josi’s asking price could be north of $9 million per season. Josi and Predators GM David Poile have downplayed the situation. I expect he’ll be re-signed but it won’t be for a hometown discount.

The St. Louis Blues could use Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract as a baseline in negotiations with Alex Pietrangelo. Ekman-Larsson is in the first season of an eight-year, $66-million deal with the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Ekman-Larsson’s annual average value is $8.25 million. The Pietrangelo camp could seek over $9 million per season.

The Florida Panthers will try to move Mark Pysyk. The veteran defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Friedman noted the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks had an interest during the summer. His AAV ($2.73 million) could be difficult for clubs with limited cap space to absorb.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2019

Updates on Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, Joshua Ho-Sang, Jesse Puljujarvi, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman cited an NHL executive suggesting the St. Louis Blues and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo should agree to a new contract unless one side doesn’t want to make it work. Pietrangelo is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s contract status could be a hot topic in this season’s NHL rumor mill (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman points out Pietrangelo turns 30 in January. His negotiations come at a time when teams are spending more on younger talent. Friedman also believes the Blues are “taking a big run” at re-signing pending UFA center Brayden Schenn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cost and term will be the big issues for Pietrangelo. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong could balk if his captain seeks a seven- or eight-year deal worth over $9 million annually. However, he could also be reluctant to let his top defenseman – the guy who led the Blues to its first-ever Stanley Cup championship – depart via free agency.

With over $67 million invested in 16 players (stick tap to Cap Friendly), it’ll be difficult to keep Pietrangelo and Schenn. Armstrong’s admitted he’ll have to get creative to re-sign both and leave enough for the rest of the roster. That could mean a cost-cutting trade or two before July 1.

If the Blues are out of playoff contention by the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Armstrong could shop Pietrangelo and/or Schenn if there are no agreements on new contracts by that point. Nevertheless, I think he’ll be keen to keep both players in the fold.

Friedman also believes a break is coming between the New York Islanders and Joshua Ho-Sang. He cited Isles GM Lou Lamoriello saying the young winger worked hard to earn a roster spot in training camp but it didn’t work out. Ho-Sang passed unclaimed through waivers earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some think Ho-Sang might improve with a new club. The fact he passed through waivers, however, indicates nobody else wants to give him that opportunity.

It’s been five years since the Islanders selected Ho-Sang in the first round (28th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft. He’s had several opportunities under different coaches and management to crack their roster. The simple truth could be that he isn’t good enough to cut it at the NHL level.

Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland indicated things are quiet on the Jesse Puljujarvi trade front. The young winger is currently playing in Finland waiting for the Oilers to honor his trade request. Holland hopes Puljujarvi’s performance overseas bolsters his trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have until Dec. 1 to re-sign Puljujarvi or he’ll become ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season.

Friedman advises keeping an eye on the Arizona Coyotes goaltending. They re-signed Darcy Kuemper and claimed Eric Comrie off waivers this week. With Antti Raanta and Adin Hill also in the fold, perhaps GM John Chayka will use this goalie surplus to swing a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could depend on Raanta. Friedman notes he’s very good when healthy, but he’s struggled through injuries over the past two seasons. He was sidelined during training camp and was sent to their farm team on a two-week conditioning stint. If there’s concern over Raanta’s health, Chayka could need that surplus between the pipes.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils looked at Florida Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk. He also noted the Dallas Stars seek a “reasonably high pick (second- or third-rounder) or a prospect” for rearguard Julius Honka.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet could become head coach of the Arizona Coyotes.

Update on the Coyotes coaching search plus latest contract signings in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Reports from TSN and Sportsnet indicate Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet could become the next head coach of the Arizona Coyotes. Elliotte Friedman reports hearing Tocchet and the Coyotes are working on a four-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tocchet played three seasons for the Coyotes (1997-2000) and was an assistant coach in 2005-06. No official word yet from the Coyotes but that could be coming soon. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers re-signed defenseman Mark Pysyk to a three-year, $8.2-million contract. 

CSN MID-ATLANTIC.COM: The Washington Capitals re-signed goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a one-year, $1.5-million deal. 

NBC SPORTS: The Dallas Stars retained forward Brett Ritchie to a two-year contract worth $3.5 million. 

The Los Angeles Kings re-upped center Nick Shore to a one-year, $925K deal. 

TVA SPORTS’ Renaud Lavoie reports the Nashville Predators placed goaltender Marek Mazanec on waivers. 

Player agent Dan Milstein announced via Twitter that former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nikita Nesterov is headed to the KHL. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights signed forward Teemu Pulkkinen to a one-year, $700K contract. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings extended their affiliation agreement with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffin.