NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2023

The Kraken hand the Bruins their first home regulation loss, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour collects his 200th win, the Lightning’s Steven Stamkos edges closer to 500 career goals, the Canadiens honor P.K. Subban, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken blanked the Boston Bruins 3-0, handing the latter their first home regulation loss of the season. Martin Jones stopped 27 shots for his second straight shutout while Brandon Tanev, Eeli Tolvanen and Jaden Schwartz scored for the Kraken (25-12-4), who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 54 points. Linus Ullmark made 28 saves for the 35-5-4 Bruins as they remain in first place in the overall standings with 68 points.

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour collected his 200th career victory as his club thumped the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2. Brett Pesce scored twice, Sebastian Aho and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each collected two assists and Frederik Anderson made 21 saves for the win in his first start since Nov. 6. The Hurricanes (26-9-7) sit in second place in the overall standings with 59 points. Sean Kuraly and Johnny Gaudreau replied for the 12-27-2 Blue Jackets as they sink into last place overall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. It was his fourth game of the season since returning for an off-season Achilles’ injury. Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets activated defenseman Nick Blankenburg off injured reserve and placed forward Eric Robinson on IR.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

The Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 5-4. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos tallied his 499th career goal and collected an assist as they stretched their home win streak to nine games. The Lightning (26-13-1) sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 53 points. Quinn Hughes had a goal and two assists as the Canucks fell to 17-21-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Hughes, he expressed his unhappiness over the treatment teammate Tanner Pearson received when he suffered a broken hand two months ago. Hughes felt it wasn’t handled properly, leading to Pearson undergoing two more procedures that ended his season. Vancouver also lost defenseman Travis Dermott in this game to an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson was a healthy scratch from this contest.

Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield tallied two power-play goals in a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Jonathan Drouin collected three assists while Sam Montembeault kicked out 39 shots as the Canadiens improved to 17-22-3 on the season. Nashville goalie Yaroslav Askarov stopped 31 shots in his NHL debut. The Predators (19-16-6) are three points out of the finals Western Conference wild-card berth with 44 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens honored recently-retired defenseman P.K. Subban in a pre-game ceremony. Subban played for both clubs during his 13 NHL seasons, spending seven of those in Montreal where he became a fan favorite. He thanked the club, his teammates and the Montreal fans and staged a final “low-five” celebration with sidelined Habs goalie Carey Price.

A third-period goal by Taylor Raddysh lifted the Chicago Blackhawks over the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Petr Mrazek made 31 saves for Chicago (11-25-4) as they rose to second-last in the overall standings with 26 points. The Avalanche (20-17-3) got two assists from Nathan MacKinnon but sit four points out of a Western wild-card spot with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The defending Stanley Cup champions have been walloped by injuries this season but they’re also feeling the offseason departures of such notable players as Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky. Having lost seven of their last eight games, they’re in danger of falling further behind in the playoff race.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 as Lucas Raymond led the way with a goal and two assists. Ville Husso made 32 saves as the Wings (18-15-7) sit within five points of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 43 points. Rasmus Sandin replied for the Leafs, who sit behind the Hurricanes for second place in the East with 59 points as the latter has a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs center Auston Matthews missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury that has nagged him this season. He’s expected to return to the lineup on Saturday.

An overtime goal by Adam Fox gave the New York Rangers a 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars. K’Andre Miller tied the game with a second remaining in regulation to force the extra frame as the Rangers (24-12-7) sit one point back of the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 55 points as the Devils hold two games in hand. Tyler Seguin scored for the 25-11-7 Stars as they slip to second place in the Western Conference with 57 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights got third-period goals from Jack Eichel, William Carrier and William Karlson to double up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Adin Hill stopped 38 shots for the Golden Knights as they improved to 28-13-2 and took over first place in the West with 58 points. Nick Cousins and Sam Reinhart replied for the Panthers as their record fell to 19-20-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas captain Mark Stone left his contest in the first period with an undisclosed injury. No other information was provided.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 39 saves in a 4-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Kyle Connor scored the game-winner and also collected an assist as the 27-14-1 Jets sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 55 points. Victor Olofsson and Tyson Jost scored for the Sabres as they slipped to 20-18-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Jets activated forward Saku Maenalanen off injured reserve and moved forward David Gustafsson on IR.

The Minnesota Wild snapped a three-game losing skid to down the New York Islanders 3-1 on third-period goals by Frederick Gaudreau, Sam Steel and Kirill Kaprisov. The 23-14-4 Wild hold third place in the Central Division with 50 points. Scott Mayfield scored for the Islanders (22-18-3) and Ilya Sorokin made 33 saves as they sit one point out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 47 points.

Calgary Flames winger Dillon Dube netted two goals and Dan Vladar made 25 saves in a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. At 20-14-9, the Flames hold the first wild-card spot in the West with 49 points. Jake Neighbours tallied for the Blues (21-19-3), who sit two points out of a Western wild-card spot with 45 points.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Arizona Coyotes 5-3, handing the latter their seventh straight loss. Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist for the Senators as they improved to 19-19-3 on the season. Goalie Karel Vejmelka stopped 42 shots in a losing cause for the 13-23-5 Coyotes.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 11, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 11, 2023

Four-point performances from Evgeni Malkin, Nikita Kucherov and Moritz Seider, plus injury updates on Patrick Kane, Evander Kane and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored two goals and collected two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Jason Zucker had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (21-13-6), who move one point ahead of the New York Islanders into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 48 points. Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who dropped to 17-20-3 and have lost five of their last six games.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov also scored twice and picked up two assists in a 6-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman each collected two assists for the 25-13-1 Lightning as they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 51 points. Patrick Laine had two assists for the Blues Jackets as they slid to 12-26-2.

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Winnipeg Jets 7-5 with Moritz Seider collecting four assists while Lucas Raymond had a goal and two assists. Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Neal Pionk each had a goal and an assist for the Jets (26-14-1) to sit in second place in the Central Division with 53 points. The Red Wings improved to 17-15-7 on the season.

Speaking of the Central Division, the Dallas Stars (25-11-6) opened a three-point lead over the Jets for first place (56 points) by nipping the New York Islanders 2-1. Jason Robertson opened the scoring and won the game with a shootout goal while Anders Lee replied for the 22-17-3 Islanders. The Stars also sit in first place in the Western Conference with 22 regulation wins compared to 19 for the Vegas Golden Knights, who have the same number of points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars played without Roope Hintz, who will also miss Thursday’s game against the New York Rangers with an upper-body injury.

The New Jersey Devils gained ground on the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with a 5-3 victory. Dawson Mercer scored twice and collected an assist while Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist as the Devils improved to 26-12-3. With 55 points, they’re two back of the 25-9-7 Hurricanes, who got a goal and an assist from Sebastian Aho in this contest.

Shootout goals by Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin gave the New York Rangers a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. Filip Chytil scored the game-tying goal while Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers (23-12-7) sit two points behind the Devils in third place in the Metro Division. Marc-Andre Fleury made 40 saves in regulation and overtime for the 22-14-4 Wild as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a costly win for the Rangers as Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier both left this game with upper-body injuries. They will be evaluated on Wednesday.

The Seattle Kraken picked up their sixth straight win by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Kraken center Matty Beniers scored for the fifth consecutive game to set a franchise record as he, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz each had a goal and an assist. Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored twice, including his 20th goal of the season. The Kraken (24-12-4) sit two points behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division with 52 points. The Sabres dropped to 20-17-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres defenseman Henri Jokiharju returned to the lineup for the first time since being sidelined on Dec. 9 by a lower-body injury.

Florida Panthers winger Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the winning goal, to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4. Aleksander Barkov and Sam Bennett had a goal and an assist as the Panthers took a 4-1 lead into the third period before the Avalanche rallied to tie the game on goals by Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and J.T. Compher. The Panthers boosted their record to 19-19-4 while the Avalanche (20-16-3) sit two points behind the Edmonton Oilers, who hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 45 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Panthers recalled goaltender Alex Lyon to back up Sergei Bobrovsky as Spencer Knight (undisclosed) was placed on injured reserve.

An overtime goal by Robert Thomas gave the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Jordan Kyrou had a goal and two assists and Jordan Binnington made 28 saves for the Blues (21-18-3). Andrew Mangiapane had a goal and an assist for the Flames (19-14-9) as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 47 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have an identical record as the Edmonton Oilers (21-18-3) but the latter holds the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 19 regulation wins.

Third-period goals by Matt Nieto and Jaycob Megna lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 4-2. Kevin Labanc had a goal and an assist while Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 27 shots for the Sharks (13-21-8). Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere each collected two assists as the Coyotes fell to 13-22-5.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane said he’s being cautious with the lower-body injury that has sidelined him for the past two games. He’s hoping to return to action soon.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported it’s a nagging injury that might require a “clean-up” at some point. Kane hasn’t closed the door on that possibility but said it’s not something he’s contemplating for the moment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lower body could mean hip, groin, knee or ankle. It could affect Kane’s performance as well as his value in the trade market if he agrees to waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 deadline.

TSN: Evander Kane could return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup for either their Jan. 19 games against the Tampa Bay Lightning or Jan. 21 against the Vancouver Canucks. He’s been sidelined since suffering a wrist laceration against the Lightning on Nov. 8. The original prognosis had him returning sometime in late February.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s return won’t help the Oilers’ struggling defense and inconsistent goaltending. However, he will provide an extra measure of offense and some physical swagger to their forward lines that’s been missing during his absence.

Speaking of the Oilers, goaltender Stuart Skinner flew to Edmonton yesterday for the birth of his and his wife’s first child.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman T.J. Brodie (rib) on injured reserve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 6, 2023

Predators goaltender Juuse Saros sets a franchise record, the Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl reach assist milestone, the top 32 players are named to the 2023 All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made a franchise-record 64 saves to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. Third-period goals by Mark Jankowski and Colton Sissons put the game away for the Predators as they improved their record to 17-14-6 on the season. Max Pacioretty was held scoreless in his season debut with the Hurricanes (25-8-6) as they hold a five-point lead over the New York Rangers for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (NHL Images).

Edmonton Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had two points in a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. McDavid collected two assists to reach 500 career assists while Draisaitl scored and collected an assist to reach the 400 career assist milestone as the Oilers improved to 21-17-2. Mathew Barzal and Cal Clutterbuck replied for the 22-16-2 Islanders.

The league-leading Boston Bruins picked up their 30th win of the season with a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Trent Frederic scored twice within 34 seconds in the third period while David Pastrnak tallied twice for the Bruins, who hold an eight-point lead over the Hurricanes for first overall with 64 points. Phillip Danault and Sean Durzi replied for the Kings (22-14-6), who sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Bruins placed winger Jake DeBrusk (fractured fibula) on long-term injury reserve. He’s expected to miss approximately four weeks.

Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. Eichel had been sidelined for 11 games with a lower-body injury. Adin Hill made 38 saves for the Golden Knights (27-12-2), who sit atop the Western Conference with 56 points. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each had two points for the Penguins (19-13-6), who’ve dropped six straight games.

The Washington Capitals (22-13-6) extended their road win streak record to seven games with a 6-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. T.J. Oshie scored twice, Dylan Strome collected three assists, and Alex Ovechkin scored to extend his goal streak to four games. Johnny Gaudreau scored one of the goals for the 11-24-2 Blue Jackets.

Three goals within a 2:33 span in the second period rallied the Vancouver Canucks over the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. Andrei Kuzmenko scored two goals and Brock Boeser tallied what proved to be the game-winner for the Canucks (17-18-3). Mikko Rantanen and Samuel Girard replied for the 19-15-3 Avalanche. With 41 points, the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche sits two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Seattle Kraken picked up their third straight win to dump the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 5-1. Vince Dunn scored and picked up two assists while Martin Jones kicked out 26 shots for the 21-12-4 Kraken. Their 11 road wins thus far equal their total from last season. John Tavares scored for the Leafs (23-9-7) as they sit in third overall in the Eastern Conference with 53 points.

St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas scored twice and picked up an assist while Jordan Binnington made 36 saves for a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils, handing the latter their eighth straight home loss. Jack Hughes tallied twice for the Devils (24-12-3) as they hold a one-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 51 points. The Blues improved their record to 19-17-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ondrej Palat was held scoreless in his return to the Devils’ lineup after being sidelined for 32 games by groin surgery.

The Rangers, meanwhile, picked up a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens (15-21-3), leaving the latter winless in their last seven games (0-6-1). Filip Chytil tallied twice for the 22-12-6 Rangers as they picked up their third straight victory. Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher missed this game with a lower-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers forwards Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes each had a goal and two assists as their club tallied five second-period goals to beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-2. The Flyers improved to 15-17-7 while the Coyotes fall to 13-19-5.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson and Kraken center Matty Beniers are among 11 first-time selections for the 2023 NHL All-Star Game to be held at Sunrise, Florida on Feb. 4, 2023. Other first-timers included Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark, Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson, Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov, Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson and Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fans will vote for the final three players for each division All-Star team.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks listed Patrick Kane as a “maybe” for Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. He’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury and skipped practice yesterday for a maintenance day.

OTTAWA SUN: Attendance for Senators games is up by over 25 percent over last season, averaging 15,798 fans after 20 home games this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Senators, another potential buyer is poised to make a bid for the club. A group headed by Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Neko Sparks is preparing to submit a bid when the sale process formally opens. One source said they’re prepared to go upwards of $950 million to purchase the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reminder that any potential owner who purchases the Senators understands that a condition of the sale is the franchise cannot be relocated.

DAILY FACEOFF: An overtime goal by Arizona Coyotes forward Dylan Guenther propelled Canada to a 3-2 victory over Czechia in the Gold Medal Game at the 2023 World Junior Championships in Halifax.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seattle Kraken center Shane Wright scored one of Canada’s three goals. Connor Bedard of the WHL’s Regina Pats was named tournament MVP with 23 points. The 17-year-old is considered the top prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft, scheduled for June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2023

What could the Rangers have in store for the trade deadline? Could the Ducks shop a goaltender? Are the Oilers interested in Jake McCabe? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT WILL THE RANGERS DO AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently explored the New York Rangers’ options for the March 3 trade deadline. He believes general manager Chris Drury is pondering whether to make a big-ticket acquisition or a couple of smaller ones.

Staple mentioned Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly and Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat as the big-ticket players.

Much will depend on whether Kane wants to be traded, where he wants to go and if the Rangers could get him for an affordable cost with the Blackhawks retaining half of his cap hit. O’Reilly is sidelined for six weeks with a broken foot and it could take until the week of the deadline for his market value to become clearer. Horvat could still re-sign with the Canucks but Staple doubted the Rangers could out-bid other clubs for his services.

Drury could instead look at bolstering the left side of his third defense pairing with a rental player. Staple mentioned the Anaheim Ducks’ Nathan Beaulieu or Dmitry Kulikov as well as the Philadelphia Flyers’ Justin Braun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be something of a letdown if Kane isn’t traded to the Rangers given the months of speculation linking the Blackhawks star to New York. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing for the Blueshirts to do. Given the hype, however, it would feel a little disappointing.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Drury will do what he needs to do to affordably improve his club. The Rangers aren’t in a position where their Stanley Cup window is closing. The youth and talent on their club should ensure that they have several years ahead of them where they could become legitimate Cup contenders.

Unless they’re getting Kane or another quality top-six scorer at a reasonable rental price, the Rangers will likely tweak the roster before the trade deadline and see how things play out. Drury can then look at making more significant additions during the offseason in the trade and free-agent markets.

WILL THE DUCKS TRADE A GOALTENDER?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens wonders what the Anaheim Ducks will do about their goaltending after promising Lukas Dostal’s solid performance during his recent call-up. He’s been sent back to their AHL affiliate in San Diego but he clearly doesn’t belong there.

Stephens believes John Gibson needs a trade. He has a 10-team no-trade list but Stephens believes that can be worked around. However, the remaining four years of his contract, with its average annual value of $6.4 million, is a big obstacle. It would be difficult finding a team in need of an upgrade in goal with the cap space to take on his contract.

Another option could be moving backup Anthony Stolarz, who carries a more affordable $950K cap hit and is slated to become a UFA. If the Ducks want to move Stolarz they’ll have to showcase him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are stuck with Gibson unless they either buy him out this summer or retain half of his cap hit to facilitate a trade. They won’t do the former while the latter would leave them with four years of $3.2 million in dead cap space each year, which Stephens doubts they’ll want to do.

They might be able to find a taker for Stolarz over the next couple of months among playoff contenders looking to shore up their goaltending depth. Otherwise, Dostal will have to spend the remainder of this season in the minors unless injuries sideline Gibson or Stolarz again.

COULD THE OILERS LAND MCCABE?

SPORTSNET (stick tap to NHL Watcher): On Jan. 3, Elliotte Friedman said the Chicago Blackhawks really like Jake McCabe and are in no hurry to move the defenseman. However, they also understand he probably wants to play for a winner. Friedman expects the Edmonton Oilers to be among the suitors.

The following day on The Jeff Marek Show, Friedman expressed doubts about the Oilers landing McCabe. He’s not sure the blueliner wants to play in Canada and has some no-trade control. Friedman thinks Oilers GM Ken Holland will have to look elsewhere for help on his blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In shorts, the Oilers are interested in McCabe but he’s apparently not interested in them or any other Canadian team. He has a seven-team no-trade list.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2023

The potential effect of top prospect Connor Bedard upon this season’s trade market, the latest on the Blackhawks and Blues, updates on Alexis Lafreniere and Jakob Chychrun, the Predators could consider shopping Mattias Ekholm, and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BEDARD’S POTENTIAL EFFECT ON THE TRADE MARKET

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports top prospect Connor Bedard’s unbelievable performance at this year’s World Junior Championship could spur clubs considered sellers in this season’s trade market to start shopping players sooner rather than closer to the March 3 trade deadline.

WHL forward Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats (NHL.com).

Doing so could help those bottom-feeding clubs improve their chances of winning this year’s draft lottery. Potential buyers, however, could prefer waiting until March given the limited salary-cap space around the league.

Chris Johnston believes the asking price for this year’s best assets at this year’s deadline will be at least a first-round pick in return. That goes for the high-profile forwards as well as defensemen like Montreal’s Joel Edmundson and Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every club with a shot at winning the 2023 draft lottery will be trying to dump pending free agents that they can’t or won’t re-sign as quickly as possible. However, Cap Friendly indicates there are only seven teams with more than $3 million in salary-cap payrolls right now. Several of those clubs will be sellers.

Most playoff contenders will be trying to accrue as much cap space as they can leading up to March 3. That means most of the buyers will likely want to wait until within a week or two of the deadline to start making moves when they’ve got the cap flexibility to do so.

MORE RUMORS FROM TSN’S LATEST “INSIDER TRADING”

Darren Dreger believes St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has a decision to make regarding Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko when the two return from injury next month. Armstrong will have to consider the trade value of O’Reilly, who would be a hot asset in the trade market. There will have to be a conversation with O’Reilly, and maybe with Tarasenko, regarding contract extensions, and then make the call nearer the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everything I’ve read or heard about Tarasenko’s future is that the Blues won’t be part of it. They reportedly could re-sign O’Reilly if he’s willing to accept a pay cut on a short-term deal.

Dreger also reports the Chicago Blackhawks still have to determine if pending UFAs Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews want to be traded. If they do, the pair will have to determine who the contenders will be. He also believes they would have to decide whether to accept a trade and then test their luck in this summer’s free-agent market or consider a trade-and-sign scenario.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pat Brisson, who represents Kane and Toews, is expected to meet with Blackhawks management later this month to discuss their futures.

Speaking of Gavrikov, Johnston said a lot of teams like him but so do the Blue Jackets. He doesn’t believe they’ve decided yet if they want to move the blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That decision will depend on how much Gavrikov wants to stay in Columbus. He could seek to double his salary from its current average annual value of $2.8 million.

Pierre LeBrun reports there were teams that looked into the availability of Alexis Lafreniere after the 2020 first-overall pick was a healthy scratch last week. However, the New York Rangers still believe in him and have also told that to the young winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should quiet the media trade chatter about Lafreniere for the time being. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it surfaces again before the March 3 trade deadline, especially if the Rangers decide to pursue a big-name player (hello there, Patrick Kane).

UPDATES ON CHYCHRUN, KLINGBERG, EKHOLM, MCDONAGH AND MERKLEY

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong is sticking to his asking price of two first-round picks plus another asset as part of the return for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He indicated Chychrun still wants to be dealt to a Stanley Cup contender. If the assets are there, said Armstrong, he will certainly make that trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering how well Chychrun’s played since returning in November from offseason wrist surgery, I daresay Armstrong feels confident that someone will meet his price by March 3.

Russo also noted that Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg’s full no-trade clause changed to a modified one on Jan. 1 that’s limited to 10 teams. He pointed out that Ducks GM Pat Verbeek scouted the Edmonton Oilers during two games last month. There’s been chatter they could have an interest in Klingberg, though they seem to have more of a need for a left-side defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ preference would be for Chychrun but they could lack the assets to make that deal happen. The Oilers have also been linked to Gavrikov.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added Nashville Predators blueliner Mattias Ekholm to his list of trade candidates at No. 7. He’s been told that Predators GM David Poile has some uncomfortable decisions to make as his club has regressed this season to a likely non-playoff team loaded with expensive contracts. Seravalli also wondered if defenseman Ryan McDonagh might be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm lacks no-trade protection and is in the first season of a four-year contract. However, he’s also turning 33 in May and carries an annual salary-cap hit of $6.25 million. Good luck moving that contract during a season under a flattened salary cap.

As for McDonagh, Seravalli pointed out he waived his no-trade clause last summer to go from Tampa Bay to Nashville. He believes that requesting the 33-year-old rearguard to waive it again could be a tall ask. Even if McDonagh agreed to be traded again, his age and $6.75 million cap hit through 2025-26 make him very difficult to move in-season.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Max Miller cited Seravalli reporting yesterday that Sharks defenseman Ryan Merkley requested a trade. A first-round pick (21st overall) in 2018, he’s spent much of his tenure with the Sharks organization playing for their AHL affiliate.

Merkley spent 39 games with the Sharks last season and was expected to skate with them again this season. Sharks GM Mike Grier declined to comment.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2023

Hat-trick performances by the Sabres’ Tage Thompson and the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk while Auston Matthews sets a Leafs franchise record. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson tallied in overtime for his third hat trick of the season in a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals. Thompson finished the night with four points while Alex Tuch had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who improve to 19-15-2. Alex Ovechkin tallied twice for the 21-13-6 Capitals.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thompson has 30 goals on the season and sits three back of Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid for the goal-scoring lead. The Sabres, meanwhile, have won seven of their last 10 games. With 40 points, they’re six back of the New York Islanders for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Before the game, the Sabres entered Capital One Center in Washington wearing t-shirts that read, “Love for 3” to honor Buffalo Bill safety Damar Hamlin, who remains hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing during Monday’s NFL game against the Bengals. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams released a statement in support of Hamlin and the Bills’ organization.

Matthew Tkachuk tallied his first hat trick with the Florida Panthers as they downed the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. Eric Staal also scored twice for the Panthers (17-18-4) while Clayton Keller had two points for the 13-18-5 Coyotes, who’ve lost 10 straight road games.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews collected two points to become the fastest player in franchise history to reach 500 points (445 games) but his club fell 6-5 to the St. Louis Blues. Brayden Schenn tallied the winner in the shootout while Brandon Saad scored two goals for the Blues, who improved to 18-17-3. Michael Bunting scored twice and William Nylander had a three-point performance for the 23-8-7 Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Bunting, the Leafs have reportedly opened preliminary talks about a contract extension for the winger, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their fourth straight victory by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Former Blackhawk Brandon Hagel had a goal and an assist in the third period against his former club as the Lightning rose to 24-11-1 on the season. Seth Jones replied for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 8-25-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane left this game in the second period with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition is expected on Wednesday.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Artemi Panarin, K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil gave the New York Rangers a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, snapping the latter’s 11-game win streak. Paul Stastny collected two assists for Carolina (25-7-6) while the Rangers improved to 21-12-6. With 56 points, the Hurricanes remain six back of the league-leading Boston Bruins.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley stopped 28 shots to backstop his club over the Dallas Stars by a score of 3-2. Adrian Kempe snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Kings (22-13-6) reach the 50-point plateau, sitting four points behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Roope Hintz collected two assists for the 23-10-6 Stars as their four-game win streak came to an end. With 52 points, they’re two back of the Golden Knights for first overall in the Western Conference.

The Winnipeg Jets got a 33-save performance from Connor Hellebuyck in a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Sam Gagner tallied the tie-breaker in the third period as the Jets improved to 24-13-1 and sit three points behind the first-place Stars in the Central Division. The Flames’ record fell to 18-14-7 on the season.

Four straight second-period goals carried the Seattle Kraken over the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (20-12-4) as they sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 44 points, one up on the Flames and two ahead of the Oilers. Connor McDavid netted his league-leading 33rd goal of the season for the Oilers (20-17-2) as they dropped their fifth straight home game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leon Draisaitl returned to the Oilers lineup after being sidelined for two games with what was believed to be a core muscle strain.

A three-point night by Mathew Barzal carried the New York Islanders to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice for the Isles, who improved to 22-15-2 and hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. Bo Horvat scored twice for the Canucks as they dropped to 16-18-3.

Ottawa Senators goalie Anton Forsberg turned in a 22-save shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Tim Stutzle and Claude Giroux each had two points for the Senators (18-17-3) while the Blue Jackets slide to 11-23-2 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Senators, a source told the Ottawa Sun that it could take until March to determine who the club’s new owner will be. Even then, the paperwork to complete the sale might not be done until June.

The Nashville Predators downed the Montreal Canadiens 6-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss and leaving them with just one win in their last 10 games. Nino Niederreiter had three assists for the 16-14-6 Predators. Cole Caufield netted his 22nd goal of the season for the 15-20-3 Canadiens.

IN OTHER NEWS…

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed winger Jakub Vrana on waivers yesterday. The move comes as the club attempts to create roster space for sidelined players such as Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina slated to return soon to their lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrana missed most of this season in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program and is currently with the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.

A rival club interested in bolstering their scoring could pluck Vrana off waivers today by the noon ET deadline. He’s under contract through next season but also carries a $5.25 million annual average value. Given the high number of teams that Cap Friendly indicates have less than that in cap space, it’ll be interesting to see if he gets plucked off the waiver wire later today.

The Red Wings are carrying three goaltenders. However, they decided against putting Alex Nedeljkovic or the well-traveled Magnus Hellberg on waivers for the purpose of sending one of them to the minors for the time being.

LAS VEGAS SUN’s Danny Webster took to Twitter yesterday to report the Golden Knights have taken center Jack Eichel off injured reserve.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers activated promising winger Bobby Brink off injured reserve and have sent him to their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins have recalled goalie Dustin Tokarski from the AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They’ve also placed defenseman Kris Letang on their non-roster list as he’s joined his family in Montreal following the recent death of his father.