NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we look at the potential off-season plans for the seven non-playoff clubs.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The beat writers for the seven non-playoff teams – the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, and San Jose Sharks – examined those clubs’ possible off-season plans.

Eric Stephens reports the Ducks must determine if Ryan Miller will return as their backup goaltender. They could also discuss if they’ll stick with winger Rickard Rakell and defenseman Josh Manson or test their value in the trade market. Adding an affordable right-shooting defenseman could be an option.

Could the Anaheim Ducks shop defenseman Josh Manson? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell and Manson popped up frequently in the rumor mill before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. While they could fetch good returns via trade, moving either guy will also weaken the Ducks’ roster. Unless general manager Bob Murray intends to tear things down, I don’t see either guy being shopped. 

Joe Yerdon believes the biggest task facing Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is re-signing winger Sam Reinhart. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and is due for a lucrative, long-term deal. They could also use an experienced second-line center to ease the workload of promising youngsters Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $47 million committed to 10 players next season, the Sabres have the cap room to re-sign Reinhart to a long-term deal. How much, and for how long, could take some time to sort out, but I expect it’ll get done. 

Max Bultman believes Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman must decide if he’ll retain or replace head coach Jeff Blashill. He must also re-sign restricted free agents such as Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. Both are RFAs with arbitration rights in need of long-term deals. Yzerman must also find a backup goalie for Jonathan Bernier and a veteran defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have over $46.2 million invested in 11 players next season. Yzerman has plenty of cap space to re-sign his key free agents and address his other needs. Who he might pursue via trade or free agency are questions for whenever the off-season finally rolls around. 

Lisa Dillman observed the Kings have sufficient salary-cap space to make a big splash or perhaps a strategic addition to their roster. GM Rob Blake has indicated he’d like to bolster the left side of his blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake has lots of cap space (around $20 million) to make a big acquisition, but I doubt he’ll go that route this year. He could instead seek an affordable, short-term addition or two to ensure he’s got sufficient room for a significant move next year. 

Corey Masisak reports the Devils must determine if interim GM Tom Fitzgerald and interim head coach Alain Nasreddine will return or be replaced. Whoever becomes the GM must decide if they’ll stick with Cory Schneider as part of their goalie tandem, bring in a third goalie to compete with Schneider, or buy out his contract. The Devils also need one or two top-four defensemen and multiple top-six wingers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have lots of issues to be addressed this off-season. Most of them cannot be done until they’ve sorted out who the general manager will be. 

Hailey Salvian believes free-agent goalie Craig Anderson’s tenure with the Senators has come to an end. RFA winger Anthony Duclair seems to have found a home in Ottawa, but contract term and money remains unclear. RFAs Chris Tierney and Connor Brown also earned raises. Pending UFA blueliners Ron Hainsey and Mark Borowiecki could be brought back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Pierre Dorion has only $41.9 million committed to nine players next season. He’s also got 13 picks in this year’s draft, some of which are likely to be used as off-season trade bait. I expect he’ll be busy trying to add some experienced depth to his rebuilding roster. 

Kevin Kurz believes the Sharks’ first order of business is deciding if interim coach Bob Boughner returns full-time behind the bench. Backup goalie Aaron Dell has likely played his final game as a Shark. GM Doug Wilson must do more than just make periphery changes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $66 million committed to 13 players, Wilson will have to get creative if he intends to improve his roster for next season. It’s been suggested he shop one of his high-priced stars, but they all carry hefty salaries and most of them have no-trade protection. 










Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

 










What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?

What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2020

Another milestone for Alex Ovechkin, Justin Williams returns to the Hurricanes, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin reached another scoring milestone in a 6-1 thumping of the Ottawa Senators. Ovechkin scored twice to tie Teemu Selanne (684 goals) for 11th on the all-time goal list. T.J. Oshie also scored two goals while defenseman John Carlson chipped in two assists.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is tied with Teemu Selanne with 684 career goals (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin needs only 11 more goals to surpass Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, and Mark Messier and move into eighth overall. Barring injury, he should pass those three before season’s end. He needs 25 more goals to pass Mike Gartner for seventh.

The Carolina Hurricanes edged the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on an overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton. Sebastian Aho and Warren Foegele each had two points. The Flyers have lost four straight games. The Hurricanes also announced winger Justin Williams was returning to play on a one-year, bonus-laden contract with a base salary of $700K. Williams, 38, had stepped away from the game for several months. It remains to be seen where he’ll fit into the lineup or when he’ll play his first game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals might try to sign Williams before he inked his new deal with the Hurricanes. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes the veteran winger to round back into game shape and how effective he’ll be over the remainder of this season.

The St. Louis Blues snapped a three-game winless skid by holding off the San Jose Sharks 3-2. Sharks captain Logan Couture left the game in the second period with an apparent knee injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Couture’s status could come later today. If he’s sidelined for a long period, it’ll be a significant setback to the Sharks’ playoff hopes.

Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Carter Verhaeghe tallied his first career NHL hat trick in a 9-2 drubbing of the Vancouver Canucks. Brayden Point had a four-point performance and Steven Stamkos collected three points. Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh missed the game with an upper-body injury and could remain sidelined until Saturday. The Bolts have won eight straight.

The Boston Bruins spoiled John Hynes’ debut as the Nashville Predators new head coach by rolling to a 6-2 victory. Bruins forwards Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen each had a goal and an assist while David Pastrnak netted his league-leading 32nd goal.

Elias Lindholm celebrated his 500th career NHL game with two goals as the Calgary Flames squeaked past the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Blackhawks center Dylan Strome left the game with an injured right ankle in the second period.

Kris Letang and Dominik Kahun each picked up two points and Tristan Jarry made 31 stops in a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Penguins have won 12 of their last 16 while the Golden Knights’ four-game win streak came to an end. Jarry and Letang were named to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game as injury replacements.

The Columbus Blue Jackets extended their road points streak to nine games by edging the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Zach Werenski scored two goals and Pierre-Luc Dubois collected three assists. With 50 points, the Jackets sit behind the Flyers (50 points) for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers hold a game in hand.

New York Rangers rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves (13 in the first period) for his first career NHL victory in a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored and set up two others. The Avs have dropped seven of their last 10 games.

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Florida Panthers 5-2. Taylor Hall tallied the game-winner, Phil Kessel collected three assists, and goalie Adin Hill made 37 saves.

Anders Lee’s overtime goal lifted the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri each had a goal and an assist in a losing cause for the Devils.

The Detroit Red Wings rallied to nip the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Frans Nielsen scored twice and Filip Zadina tallied the winning goal. Ilya Kovalchuk picked up two assists for the Habs, who are winless in seven (0-6-1).

IN OTHER NEWS…

ESPN.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is concerned over the recent trend of notable players skipping the annual All-Star Game. Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Vegas’ Marc-Andre Fleury have opted out of this year’s game. Under league rules, a player named to the ASG who doesn’t attend faces a one-game suspension.

Daly believes the current punishment isn’t sufficient to discourage players from skipping the game, but the league might not attempt to stiffen the penalty through collective bargaining. “What we want to do is make sure everybody understands that it is an important event, not something that should be bypassed lightly. We’ll seek the help with the [NHLPA] in instilling that sentiment with the players,” said Daly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the stick isn’t working, the league should try the carrot approach. Rather than punishment, perhaps they can entice the players by sweetening the $1 million prize for the winning team in the All-Star Game.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild recalled goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen as Devan Dubnyk will skip the club’s upcoming trip to Calgary. Dubnyk will be with his wife as she undergoes a medical procedure.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens traded former first-round pick Michael McCarron to the Nashville Predators for center Laurent Dauphin. McCarron was selected 25th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Canadiens don’t have the best record in managing their first-round assets in recent years:

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2019

Game recaps, Alex Ovechkin reaches 50 goals again, Islanders clinch a playoff berth, Flyers eliminated from the postseason race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain and NHL goal-scoring leader Alex Ovechkin scored twice and reached the 50-goal plateau for the eighth time in his career to lead his club to a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie each scored twice and collected an assist.

With the win, the Capitals (102 points) maintain a three-point lead over the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division. It was a costly loss for the Lightning, as defenseman Victor Hedman left the game in the first period after being struck in the face by the helmet of Capitals winger Carl Hagelin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy have more 50-goal seasons (nine each) than Ovechkin, who narrowly missed the cut with 49 goals last season. It’s a remarkable achievement by one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history.

For the eighth time in his career, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has scored 50 goals (Photo via NHL Images)

The New York Islanders clinched a playoff spot by downing the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. Robin Lehner made 31 stops and Anthony Beauvillier scored two goals. Sabres forward Vladimir Sobotka missed the game with an upper-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Entering this season, the Islanders weren’t expected to be in the playoff chase following the offseason departure of John Tavares to Toronto. Credit the coaching of Barry Trotz and his staff,  a career season by goaltender Robin Lehner, and the determination of the players for the Isles surprising performance. 

The Philadelphia Flyers are out of the playoff race after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Carolina Hurricanes. Teuvo Teravainen and Brock McGinn each tallied a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (93 points) who remain one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Columbus Blue Jackets maintained their hold on the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot by beating the Nashville Predators 5-2. Cam Atkinson scored twice for the Jackets. The Predators activated defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who missed over a month with a leg injury.

The Montreal Canadiens (92 points) kept pace with the Blue Jackets by beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Jordan Weal had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who remain tied with the Jackets but sit outside the final Eastern wild-card spot. 

The San Jose Sharks (97 points) secured home-ice advantage in the opening round of the upcoming playoffs by edging the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on an overtime goal by Brent Burns. The Sharks also snapped a seven-game losing skid. 

Vince Dunn scored in overtime as the St. Louis Blues edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist for the Blues (92 points), who moved within two points of the Nashville Predators for second place in the Central Division. 

Roberto Luongo made 30 saves and Evgenii Dadonov scored two goals as the Florida Panthers upset the Boston Bruins 4-1. The Bruins (103 points) remains six points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Eastern Conference. 

Craig Anderson kicked out 42 shots and Anthony Duclair scored twice as the Ottawa Senators upset the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. The loss prevented the Leafs (97 points) from clinching a playoff spot. Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki missed the game with an upper-body injury. 

Markus Granlund scored the only goal in a shootout to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Jacob Markstrom made 38 saves for the win. The Stars (89 points) maintain a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the first wild-card berth in the West.

Rickard Rakell tallied a natural hat trick to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. The loss keeps the Oilers (77 points) eight points out of a playoff spot in the West.

The Chicago Blackhawks (79 points) dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Kings but moved within six points of the Avalanche for the final Western wild-card berth. Drew Doughty tallied the game-winner for the Kings. 

The Detroit Red Wings are expected to announce a two-year contract extension for head coach Jeff Blashill in the coming days. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Wings general manager Ken Holland has frequently supported Blashill’s efforts and recently indicated his intention to negotiate a new contract for his bench boss. The improvement of their young players under Blashill’s coaching is the main reason for this move. 

The Arizona Coyotes re-signed center Nick Schmaltz to a seven-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s worth $40.95 million ($5.85-million annual average value) with a modified no-trade clause (10-team no-trade list) starting in 2023-24. It’s a big raise for the 23-year-old Schmaltz coming out of his entry-level contract. His tenure with the Coyotes has been short thus far, playing in just 17 games after being acquired earlier in the season from Chicago.

A knee injury finished his season but Coyotes management obviously liked what they saw from him and feel confident he’ll be their first-line center going forward. Schmaltz had 52 points last season with the Blackhawks and 14 points with the Coyotes before his injury. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 28, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, Senators need a new downtown arena location and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: A four-goal second period powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-2 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers. Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists while Andreas Johnsson scored twice for the Leafs (82 points), who move within a point of the Boston Bruins for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Leafs blueline was dealt a blow as defenseman Travis Dermott suffered a shoulder injury and is listed as week-to-week. He joins Jake Gardiner (back injury, week-to-week) on the sidelines

The Calgary Flames 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by a scary injury to Devils defenseman Mirco Mueller after he crashed head-first into the end boards. Mueller was stretchered from the game and sent to a hospital but is reportedly conscious and has the full range of motion of his limbs. 

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tallied his 40th goal of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images)

Shootout goals by Mikko Rantanen and Carl Soderberg gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves in a losing cause for the Canucks. The Avalanche (68 points) moved one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. New Canucks winger Tanner Pearson revealed he’s been hampered by an undisclosed injury since late-December that is affecting his scoring but isn’t serious enough to take him out of action. 

Patrick Kane’s 40th goal of the season was also the game-winner as the Chicago Blackhawks nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Alex DeBrincat also scored twice for the Blackhawks (63 points), who sit five points behind the Avalanche. Ducks forward Rickard Rakell was ejected from the game in the second period for an ugly hit from behind on Blackhawks winger Drake Caggiula. 

Victor Hedman scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the New York Rangers 4-3 to pick up their franchise-record 10th straight victory. League scoring leader Nikita Kucherov collected three assists and now has 104 points on the season. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Bryan Rust (lower body) and Chad Ruhwedel (upper body) are both sidelined with “longer-term injuries” 

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward Noel Acciari is questionable for tonight’s game against the Lightning after undergoing dental surgery to repair damage suffered on Tuesday against San Jose when he was struck in the mouth by a puck. 

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed Zac Dalpe to a two-year, two-way contract. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes re-signed Conor Garland to a two-year contract extension worth $775K per season. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk remains determined to find a new downtown location for a new arena after the National Capital Commission announced the Rendezvous LeBreton plan had fallen through. “We are devastated that our dream has been shattered. However, we will not let our vision die or allow our enthusiasm to be diminished by this ill-fated experience,” Melnyk said in a statement.